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Nordphos: a circular economy in the water treatment sector

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30 July, 2019
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Water is an essential resource for social wellbeing and economic development and this is why it is fundamental that circular economy models are implemented in the water treatment industry.
NORDPHOS’s goal is to develop and offer technologies that will enable circular economy models to be implemented in the water treatment sector. According to Niels Mikkelsen, CEO of NORDPHOS, the aim of this project is to create solutions that will place humans at the very centre of the biological circuits, creating truly ecological production systems.

Nordpho's biogenerator for water treatment

NORDPHOS was founded in 2018 as a start up venture by Minor Change Group, an innovation agency that specialises in developing circular economy business models.

Between 2014 and 2018, Minor Change Group initiated and managed several R&D projects that focused on applying circular economy solutions in the field of water treatment. Two of the large-scale projects which they undertook on the Island of Samso in the centre of Denmark, were particularly noteworthy. They received support for these projects from the Ministry of Environment and Food, as well as from some of the main R&D institutions, and the leading companies in water treatment technology. NORDPHOS was founded on the basis of the findings and results of these projects.

Implementing a circular economy model in the water treatment sector

The solution that NORDPHOS has created is very helpful when implementing a circular economy model in the water treatment sector. The idea is to ease the overcapacity of the central plants by extracting running water at the beginning of the sewage system. This extracted water will then be used to produce irrigation water that is rich in nutrients. Through this process, it will be possible to increase the organic concentration of the wastewater that flows towards the central plant, therefore facilitating the treatment process.

This project has sparked great interest, in particular in the regions of the world in which water is a scarce commodity and in which the agricultural sector plays an important role in the country’s economic development.

Development in these regions can often be hampered by the lack of infrastructures and water treatment plants, therefore the solution proposed by NORDPHOS could significantly improve the living conditions of the local population, as well as having a positive impact on the development of economies in the primary sector.

How is C-VOUCHER supporting NORDPHOS’ circular project?

According to Mikkelsen, the support provided through the C-VOUCHER program has helped them to focus on their simple model, a model that has the potential to really triumph in this sector. The support they received also helped them to develop the necessary technology in order to carry out tests on a small-scale, and, by doing so, they were able to determine the particular specifications for the product which they intended to place on the market.

As part of the C-VOUCHER program, the company was allocated an expert in design thinking, who provided NORDPHOS with a much broader perspective of the sector. Their help proved invaluable for the company, as it enabled them to come up with the storytelling pitch that they would use to launch their product on to the market, and try to attract investors.