Love Tomorrow 2024 Partner Aquafin Transforms Wastewater into Renewable Energy

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Love Tomorrow is committed to sharing innovative solutions that propel the planet toward a sustainable future.  A leader in wastewater purification, Love Tomorrow 2024’s partner Aquafin is definitely one to watch.

In the quest for sustainable energy sources, innovative solutions emerge from unexpected places. For example, recovering thermal energy from wastewater – a process known as riothermia. Not only does this game-changing approach have the potential to transform how we heat and cool buildings and other structures, it also offers environmental benefits and economic advantages.


Unlocking the Potential of Wastewater  

Ever considered wastewater as a source of energy? It might sound surprising, but Aquafin, a visionary wastewater treatment company in Flanders, is doing just that. These innovators are unlocking the potential of wastewater to create a renewable energy source.

Far more than just waste, remarkably wastewater contains significant residual heat from everyday sources like washing machines, dishwashers and showers. This residual heat can be harnessed effectively to heat buildings and even provide active cooling during warmer months. By installing a heat exchanger in the sewage pipe and a heat pump in the building, this thermal energy can be recovered and upgraded to meet the desired temperature for heating systems such as underfloor heating or concrete core activation.

Redefining Waste: The Power of Riothermia

By harnessing residual heat from wastewater, Aquafin is redefining waste. Picture this: residual heat from showers and washing machines, once considered waste, now becomes a valuable resource for heating buildings and cooling them during scorching summers. Managing more than 325 wastewater treatment plants and over 7,000 km of sewers throughout Flanders, Aquafin is at the forefront of transforming everyday wastewater into sustainable energy solutions.


Understanding Riothermia

But what exactly is riothermia? 

Riothermia  involves extracting residual heat from sewage water, which is then used for heating buildings or as an active cooling source. From an environmental, cost and future perspective, this technology holds immense importance, creating a  shift towards sustainable energy practices.


How Does it Work?

In simple terms, the process of riothermia involves:

  • Heat Extraction: a heat exchanger is installed in the sewer, capturing the residual heat from the wastewater.
  • Powering Up with a Heat Pump: heat is captured in the building ( low-grade),  then it’s boosted by a heat pump to a usable temperature for buildings.
  • Winter Warm, Summer Cool: in winter, this heated water provides warmth for buildings. In summer, the process can be reversed, using the coolness of the wastewater for natural air conditioning.


Putting it into Practice: Partnerships Driving Change

 

Aquafin isn’t just talking the talk, it walks the walk. Its headquarters in Belgium is entirely heated by riothermia, showcasing the technology’s potential for large buildings. And wastewater heat recovery is already gaining momentum.

Aquafin has partnered with municipalities like Sint-Niklaas, to heat its new swimming pool with wastewater energy, as well as numerous other projects across Flanders.  Moreover, collaborative projects like Waterkracht, where 20 billion litres of wastewater will be upgraded annually to cooling water for the Antwerp port industry, is a true testament to the transformative potential of riothermia.

These groundbreaking collaborations signal a future where public facilities lead in energy efficiency.

 

The Future is Bright: A Stepping Stone to 100% Renewable Energy

Waterwaste energy is a crucial piece of the puzzle in reducing the number of power plants. Aquafin’s innovative approach paves the way for a more sustainable water management system, where wastewater is a valuable resource, not just waste. 

By harnessing the potential of what’s discarded every day, together we can create a cleaner, sustainable world – one heated shower at a time. So, next time you turn on the tap, remember the hidden power within that water.

 Love Tomorrow is on a mission to create a better, brighter future for all. As an active community of  dreamers and doers, Love Tomorrow shines a spotlight on innovators like Aquafin and pioneering work.

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