SMART-Plant Pilot Project: Recovering Cellulose from Salsnes Filter Sludge

June 29th, 2017 marked the inauguration of a first-of-its-kind cellulose harvesting system installed at the Geestmerambacht Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in the Netherlands.

This pilot system is considered to be the world’s first full-scale installation that uses sewage to produce a significant amount of high-grade cellulose that can be reused in commercial products.

Sludge as a Valuable Asset

Sewage sludge has commonly been thought of as waste, and a problem to dispose of. The Geestmerambacht WWTP pilot project intends to prove that sludge can be a valuable asset in which resources can be recovered and reused.

Salsnes Filter system installed t the Geestmerambacht Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).

Salsnes Filter system installed at the Geestmerambacht Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP)

It is one of six pilot systems hosted by SMART-Plant, an initiative which finds innovative treatment technologies that can demonstrate environmental sustainability and prove the feasibility of circular wastewater management (an alternative to the traditional model where waste has no beneficial reuse).

Marketable Celluose – Cleaned, Dried & Disinfected

Harvested cellulose

At the WWTP, a Salsnes Filter system is installed (in collaboration with our partner CirTec) for primary treatment, separating cellulose fibers from toilet paper in the wastewater to produce a highly-concentrated sludge.

The sludge is then sent for post-processing inside the treatment plant.

The end result: marketable cellulose that has been cleaned, dried and disinfected.

Cellulose harvesting is anticipated to have added benefits to the WWTP’s downstream biological process. Results are expected to show energy savings and a reduced amount of secondary sludge produced.

Further Information

  • Read more about SMART-Plant and our involvement in this exciting project

Media Coverage

BBC Word News Segment


RTL Z Segment
Watch this video about the project from Dutch business and financial news channel, RTL Z.