Nuoro delivers innovative solutions at the intersection between water and energy

Posted on 26 Aug 2022

With innovative solutions at the intersection of water and energy, Nuoro aims to guide businesses towards self-sufficient, circular energy and water housekeeping.

The energy crisis, water scarcity and challenges for the environment are causing businesses to want to invest in making their activities more sustainable than ever. In response to this, six water and energy experts – with years of experience – founded Nuoro late last year. Nuoro aims to guide businesses in their transition to sustainable production processes, by implementing the right technological solutions in terms of water and energy housekeeping. They both intersect in a great many areas, as it happens.

Many businesses are not yet aware of the sustainability options in their own production processes. Wastewater is still too often seen as an annoying end product, with an "end-of-pipe" solution. Nonetheless, it can still be a valuable source of fresh water and energy in the form of biomethane and heat.

Nuoro is fully committed to innovative solutions at that intersection of water and energy. Jan Bos Van Hemelrijck: “With Nuoro, we're aiming to guide companies towards self-sufficient, circular energy and water housekeeping as a technology-independent knowledge centre. In doing so, we focus on three fields: wastewater purification and compliance, water reuse and finally biogas & green energy.”

Wastewater purification and compliance

The standards for wastewater discharge and nitrogen emissions in agriculture, for example, are developing at lightning speed. This is a major driver for businesses to innovate and add additional steps to existing purifications so as to meet tomorrow's standards.

Nuoro is adept in a broad spectrum of technologies for the post-purification of bio-effluent. Van Hemelrijck: “We first assess the current situation at the company, before proposing a tailored treatment strategy. For example, we'll begin optimising the existing infrastructure by introducing smart process regulations or we'll expand the existing facility with post-treatment steps. For emerging contaminants (emerging substances such as chemical herbicides or pesticides, several of which can no longer be used now, but which may still be present in soil, sediment and groundwater), as they're known, and micropollutants in particular, combining the purification steps into an innovative treatment line is the best guarantee of future-proof wastewater treatment.”

Water reuse: closing the water circuit for industry

Awareness of water scarcity, the ever stricter discharge standards and striving for a circular economy will in turn lead to a growing demand for the recovery of water. Van Hemelrijck: “The recovery of wastewater and closing the water circuit has direct ecological benefits, as well as economic ones. Nuoro helps businesses with treating bio-effluent and raising its value. Applications for recycled water include irrigation, cooling, water for industrial processes and even the production of drinking water.”

Biogas & green energy

Finally, the rising energy prices, cutting back on the dependence on Russian gas and the replacement of fossil fuels are contributing more than ever to the demand for green energy. Van Hemelrijck: “Nuoro strives for maximum production of biogas as a source of green energy using residual flows from food, agriculture and industrial wastewater.

The organic material in those residual flows is relatively easy to convert into biogas using anaerobic fermentation facilities, which are cost-efficient for fermenting organic waste.” Besides that, Nuoro is also focusing on recovering heat lost with wastewater. By installing heat pumps, this heat can be reused in industrial processes or to heat the buildings.

Sustainable ambitions

Van Hemelrijck: “The greatest impact Nuoro has is in implementing sustainable projects in the circular economy for our clients, and along with them. We do this in a range of ways. Firstly, we strive for a sustainable value chain. We assess the suppliers for sustainability and circular design of materials, for example. In addition, we put water, energy and CO2 impact front and centre in our process designs and we limit the consumption of chemicals to an absolute minimum.”

“In order to achieve this, we surround ourselves with an ecosystem of technology suppliers. On top of this, we take a broad view of research and innovation. That makes us mainly an integrator that brings together the right technologies into a smart whole. We also conduct our own research into applications where we don't think the 'best available technology' has gone far enough yet. These could be really nice applications that we'll continue to develop ourselves, or existing technologies that we'll make even more climate-friendly.”

Nuoro offers a wide range of services from concept to operation. Van Hemelrijck: “Nuoro can support its clients in any phase of a project. We carry out water & energy audits and feasibility studies. We help to achieve the actions for reducing the energy and/or water footprint that emerge from a water or energy audit by optimising processes. We take care of the conceptual design and the engineering of new facilities…”

Nuoro mainly targets industrial businesses from the food & beverage industry, chemistry and pharmaceuticals, in Belgium but also abroad, owing to the often multinational nature of these organisations, such as breweries.

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