Aerobic granular sludge is seen as the future standard for industrial and municipal wastewater treatment. Through a Dutch research and development program, a full-scale aerobic granular biomass technology has been developed – the Nereda® technology – which has been implemented to treat municipal and industrial wastewater. The Nereda® system is considered to be the first aerobic granular sludge technology applied at full-scale and more than 40 municipal and industrial plants are now in operation or under construction worldwide. Further plants are in the planning and design phase, including plants with capacities exceeding 1 million PE. Data from operational plants confirm the system's advantages with regard to treatment performance, energy-efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In addition, a new possibility for extracting alginate-like exopolysaccharides (ALE) from aerobic granular sludge has emerged which could provide sustainable reuse opportunities. The case is therefore made for a shift away from the ‘activated sludge approach’ towards an ‘aerobic granular approach’, which would assist in addressing the challenges facing the wastewater treatment industry in Asia and beyond.

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