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AAT is involved in the following research projects at the moment:


The SYMSITES project aims at developing new technologies and solutions based on the Industrial and Urban symbiosis (I-US) concept, for local and regional collaborations among diverse actors (Citizens, Municipalities and Entreprises) and sectors improving the sustainability of the use of industrial and societal resources starting from wastewater and waste materials.

SYMSITES main asset lies in the valorisation of underused materials and energy resources (industrial side streams, industrial waste, by-products and end of life urban waste) and their transformation into feedstock for industrial processes. In other words, the project develops high-technology solutions to achieve a real circular economy for the involved sectors.

The project’s partners believe that the impact of climate change has pushed countries and organisations worldwide to look for greener energy, processes and reuse of waste. Therefore, in reaction to linear behaviour (extract-use-waste), companies and public organisations should learn from the closed loops of natural ecosystems.

Throughout the next 4 years, SYMSITES will test novel technologies, methodologies, and stakeholders engagement applied in four European EcoSites, different in their social-economic, and environmental aspects, from the north, (Denmark), through the mid- (Austria), and southward to (Spain and Greece).

SYMSITES is a 48-month-project (June 2022 – May 2026), funded by the European Union through Horizon Europe Programme (budget: 12.404.455 €).


VARESI: Valorisation of industrial residues for a sustainable industry

After the European Union climate and energy package (“the three 20 targets”), the zero carbon economy in the European Union by 2050 was suggested in 2018-19 to reach the reduction of climate change. The proposal “VARESI” aiming to valorise industrial residues onsite the production plant and to integrate the energy vectors, mainly into the production process. To realise this target the consortium combines anaerobic treatment technologies, hydrothermal carbonisation and energetical process integration by the simulation IPSEpro. Additionally, to the energetical aspects, water recovery plays an important role during the project. The project is completed by a techno-economic assessment. The focused industries are breweries, dairies, meat processing industry, pharmaceutical industry, pulp and paper industry and sugar industry.




Our current sewage system is very well developed, but not a sustainable circulatory system. Nutrients that are brought into the wastewater via human excretions can no longer be returned to food production because there are already too many impurities in the sewage treatment plants.
As well, the energy content of the substances in the wastewater can not be used well due to the aerobic treatment in the sewage treatment plant. The sewage sludge is therefore dried, burned and the ash, among other things, is landfilled. The food waste from households is mainly disposed of in the residual waste and is also incinerated, which means that the nutrients it contains are lost.

Building on previous projects (e.g. KREIS in Hamburg) and through the use, expansion and combination of new components and processes and with laboratory tests, a new, innovative material and energy cycle system is to be tested and a demo project is to be prepared.
- The long-term behavior of the new urine separation toilet (winner of the international competition "Reinventing the Toilet") and the separation of flushing water and solids are investigated experimentally and empirically.
- Plant fertilizers and industrial water are recovered from urine and digested sludge water. Here, the Eawag urine recycling process is expanded to include nutrient recovery from digestate water and is tested in order to recover nutrients from this fraction as well.
- Recording and optimization of the separation of medicaments, drugs and hormone residues also from the digestate water.
- The high-temperature fermentation and biogas production of faeces and food waste is optimized through research and the minimum volume is determined. In addition, the hygiene, the procedural robustness of incorrect throws and discharged household chemicals are checked.
- The biogas obtained is analyzed according to time, quality and quantity and the electricity and heat potential is calculated via fuel cells or microturbines.
- Concepts for the use of leftover food from households are examined in terms of process engineering and construction.
- User acceptance and user preferences are analyzed.
- Concepts for the use of sewage sludge via carbonization processes and phosphate recovery are analyzed and evaluated.