Over 80% of the globally produced wastewater receives none or hardly any treatment before it is disposed into the environment (WWAP 2017). Therefore, it is urgent to develop new wastewater treatment technologies that are sustainable in the broad sense of the word, i.e. not only produce high quality effluents, but also minimise energy expenses, recover energy and nutrients, and apply technology that is appropriate in relation to the availability of skilled personnel.

The requirements of such a technology could be summarised by a number of characteristics. Firstly, the effluent quality should be better than commonly achieved by e.g. waste stabilisation ponds, especially if nutrient removal is required. With natural systems such as ponds or wetlands extremely large areas are required, which in many circumstances makes these technologies not practically feasible. If the local market conditions are favourable for nutrient recovery, nitrogen and particularly phosphorus...

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