Nature-Based Units as Building Blocks for Resource Recovery Systems in Cities


Prof. Eric D. van Hullebusch

University of Paris, France


Abstract: Cities are producers of high quantities of secondary liquid and solid streams that are still poorly utilized within urban systems. In order to tackle this issue, there has been an ever-growing push for more efficient resource management and waste prevention in urban areas, following the concept of a circular economy. This review paper provides a characterization of urban solid and liquid resource flows (including water, nutrients, metals, potential energy, and organics), which pass through selected nature-based solutions (NBS) and supporting units (SU), expanding on that characterization through the study of existing cases. In particular, this paper presents the currently implemented NBS units for resource recovery, the applicable solid and liquid urban waste streams and the SU dedicated to increasing the quality and minimizing hazards of specific streams at the source level (e.g., concentrated fertilizers, disinfected recovered products). The recovery efficiency of systems, where NBS and SU are combined, operated at a micro- or meso-scale and applied at technology readiness levels higher than 5, is reviewed. The importance of collection and transport infrastructure, treatment and recovery technology, and (urban) agricultural or urban green reuse on the quantity and quality of input and output materials are discussed, also regarding the current main circularity and application challenges.

Biogrpahy: Prof. Eric D. van Hullebusch received his PhD (Aquatic Chemistry and Microbiology) from Université de Limoges (France) in 2002. From November 2002 until October 2004 he was a Marie Curie Postdoctoral fellow at Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands) where his research focused on the optimization of anaerobic granular sludge reactors by studying the speciation, bioavailability and dosing strategies of trace metals. In 2005, he was appointed as associate professor in biogeochemistry of engineered ecosystems at Université Paris-Est (France). In 2012, Eric van Hullebusch obtained his Habilitation qualification in Environmental Sciences from Université Paris-Est (France). The title of his Habilitation thesis is “Biofilms in the environment: from anaerobic wastewater treatment to material bioweathering”. From September 2016 until August 2018, he worked at IHE Delft as chair professor in Environmental Science and Technology and head of the Pollution Prevention and Resource Recovery chair group. In September 2018, he joined Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (France) as full professor in Biogeochemistry of engineered ecosystems.

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