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2.4 Proven technologies in use abroad – progress through a global transfer of knowledge

Proven technologies in use abroad –
progress through a global transfer of knowledge
(Source: Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches e.V. (DVGW) – Technologiezentrum Wasser (TZW))

The implementation of environmentally-conscious, high-tech and hygienic requirements for treating drinking water and cleaning wastewater comes with additional challenges in developing and emerging countries in particular. They begin with the question as to which procedures and technologies are suitable for the varying conditions and extend to reliable operation and maintaining facilities.

One of the government’s key concerns is to build up specialist knowledge in developing and emerging countries. This means taking procedures established in Germany for treating water and cleaning wastewater and adapting them to the respective local conditions. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has funded several projects in recent years that have shown how procedures and technologies that have proven themselves in Germany can be developed further and adapted to local conditions.

Example: drinking water supply

A joint research project funded by the BMBF has documented results of German water research and developed them to suit other conditions. For this purpose, reference values were determined for the size and operation of water treatment and distribution plants while taking extreme untreated water properties as well as deviating climatic and social conditions into account. Treatment methods tried and tested in Germany are assessed as to their applicability under amended conditions or when improved performance is to be expected (project 2.4.03). The project looking into long-term water resource management in connection with this is called “Abwasserbehandlung bei der Papierherstellung mit Stroh als Rohstoff zur Zellstoffherstellung am Beispiel der Shandong Provinz (Volksrepublik China)” (wastewater treatment for paper manufacturing using straw as a raw material for pulp production using the Shandong Province (PRC) as an example). One objective of the research project is to feed treated wastewater back into paper production as process water in order to reduce water consumption (project 2.4.06).

Example: bank filtration

Bank filtration is a well-established drinking water treatment procedure in Germany: waterworks use the natural cleaning power of the soil to improve the quality of the untreated water without the use of any energy or chemicals. Scientists examined the prerequisites for this in a project called “Determination of the potential purification performance of bank filtration/underground passage with regard to the elimination of organic contaminants under site-specific boundary conditions” (project 2.4.01).

Example: slow filtration

Slow filtration has become a well-established procedure for biological drinking water purification. The systems usually consist of an infiltration pond filled with different filter and support layers. However, uniform and well cleaned filter sand is not widely available. Several institutes have been investigating how the procedure can be adapted to local conditions as part of the slow sand filtration project. The cleaning performance of recycled glass granulate and coconut fibres among other things was analysed to serve as an example (project 2.4.02).

Example: wastewater technologies

Germany is a world leader in the field of water technology. However, some knowledge gaps still exist – the objective of the joint venture “Export-oriented research and development in the field of water supply and wastewater treatment part II: Wastewater technologies in other countries” was therefore to adapt technologies for communal wastewater treatment tried and tested in Germany to different climate zones. The project included investigations into the state of communal wastewater treatment in twelve nations (project 2.4.04).

Example: database for water management systems

Reliable information is essential for successful water management. The water authority of the megalopolis Beijing needs to be able to monitor the supply and consumption of water accurately due – among other things – to the region’s climate causing significant fluctuations in available water levels. A computer program addressing this need has now been developed as part of a Sino-German joint venture – in the face of highly challenging conditions. The results of the project are also important to other megacities in Asia, where application is also possible (project 2.4.05).

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