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  • Dear Readers!

    When looking at the news over the last few months, one could gain the impression that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of global business. In addition to social stability, the aim and objective of any rational government policy must nevertheless be to secure and wherever possible augment the prosperity of citizens. Trade barriers and isolationism lead in the opposite direction. That is why the punitive tariffs or even the Brexit are not the best option. We do not need less globalisation, but rather more if together we are to meet the global challenges of the future. At least the compromise that has now been achieved between the EU and the United Kingdom would appear to offer a very promising temporary solution. 

    “Tomorrow starts today“, is a slogan at REMONDIS, and as a leader in water management and recycling, we and our roughly 32,000 staff members work day in day out so as to preserve the planet as a hospitable place with a high quality of life for coming generations. To this end, we need open borders and as few barriers as possible to business at the international level. REMONDIS is a global player. We provide solutions for our industrial and municipal customers transnationally and efficiently while leveraging considerable synergies. The services we offer are both rooted at the regional level and networked internationally and are unique in terms of their variety in the water management and recycling business. REMONDIS develops many different segments at the same time and ascribes to the principle of vertical integration. Our customers have access to a combined service portfolio ranging from the collection, treatment, recycling, recovery, transport, logistics and water management all the way to industrial services in the area of repair and maintenance. Our customers and partners profit from this, thereby making a contribution to environmental and climate protection. 

    Environmental protection and raw materials management are transnational. From this angle, one could see the Chinese ban on imports of dirty plastic waste, electronic waste, waste paper and additional waste fractions as a major opportunity. With its clear raw materials strategy, the Middle Kingdom is forcing the European recycling industry to change directions. To do this, Europe needs to redouble its own efforts, however. An eco-design directive for the recyclability of products should force all manufacturers to design their products in such a manner so that they can be 100% recycled at the end of their life cycle. The recycling industry should raise the quality of all recycled material to the primary level by means of greater investments in better sorting and recovery as well as innovative new processes. In this regard as well, REMONDIS has been underscoring its role as a leader in innovation with targeted investments. One very promising new strategy is to return plastic waste to its original chemical state, so-called chemical recycling. And last but not least, policy-makers should create a system of economic incentives to foster the use of recycled raw materials by industry. The best raw material is of no use if nobody is interested in buying it. Each and every municipality and city can serve as a good example in public tenders already now and prioritise the advantage to the climate instead of focusing only on the lowest price.

    REMONDIS is at present leading the way by serving as a role model and investing in new plants and equipment.  

    We hope you enjoy reading the new edition of REMONDIS aktuell.

    Yours truly,

    Egbert Tölle

A cooperation with REMONDIS Aqua’s subsidiary

  • Researchers at Claustahal University of Applied Science were recently awarded the German Sustainability Prize for a biofuel cell that is able to transform sewage into regenerative energy. The prize-winning project on sustainable treatment of sewage is cooperating inter alia with REMONDIS Aqua‘s subsidiary EURAWASSER in Goslar.

Innovative technology

  • In the project, the team surrounding the coordinator, Professor Michael Sievers, has been successful in producing electrical power directly from sewage in a sewage-treatment plant. At the heart of the project is an enzymatic biofuel cell, which thanks to researchers is able to produce electrical power and hydrogen without taking the usual circuitous routes via the digestion process. Because especially sewage-treatment plants are one of the biggest municipal consumers of electricity, the project offers a host of advantages for a sustainable future. With the aid of fuel cells, energy-intensive sewage plants could thus be turned into a municipal power plant in the future.

    • One of a kind in Germany, the pilot plant in the research project from Clausthal is being tested at the REMONDIS subsidiary EURAWASSER in Goslar. As Professor Sievers notes, the only plant of this type in the world is being operated here on a semi-industrial production scale, cleaning sewage water and producing electricity at the same time. Similar to fuel cells for cars, these fuel cells also transform chemical into electrical energy. The difference is that here bacteria are responsible for the metamorphose and the fuel comes from the sewage-treatment plant. The basin in the pilot plant has a total volume of 5 cubic metres. The electrical power that is produced can be stored in batteries especially designed for this purpose.

    • A look at the equipment – container in the pilot facility in which the biological fuel cell is set up

Three years spent developing the project

  • The sector has been aware that sewage is rich in valuable substances for some time. It nevertheless took three years in all to make this project a success. Another strategy that has been developed and established in actual practice for years is the process of sludge digestion: the production of gas and energy by means of a cogeneration plant. Municipal sewage-treatment plants can in this way already help compensate for the fluctuating power production associated with the energy transition already now. The Clausthal researchers will be testing their prize-winning project on an expanded scale in Goslar before they are able to put it on the market.

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