European centre of excellence
for sustainable water technology

Wetsus News 2009 2

Published: 10 maart 2009


Wetsus researcher Jan Post, Wageningen University lecturer Bert Hamelers and Cees Buisman received the prestigious "Top Paper in Environmental Technology" award for their publication entitled “Energy Recovery from Controlled Mixing Salt and Fresh Water with a Reverse Electrodialysis System”. This is the fourth year that leading journal Environmental Science and Technology presents this award. Its editors selected the trio’s publication from no less than 3,600 entries. An interview with the winners is available here:

New participants
We have had the pleasure of welcoming the following businesses as participants in the past month:

The Water & Air division of Philips’s Consumer Lifestyle sector joined the Wetsus research programme in January. Philips has taken a strategic decision in favour of water treatment and devotes much of its research capacity to this theme. Philips focuses on projects that include the development of consumer products aimed at improving the quality and taste of tap water. This is an important growth market in many parts of the world. Philips has joined forces with Wetsus in order to gain access to not only the network of relevant knowledge institutes and businesses, but also the innovative knowledge that this network can generate.
Both Philips and Wetsus are pleased with the new collaboration and foresee a growth model that is now being launched with Philips’s participation in two research themes.

Aqua Explorer
AquaExplorer ( is a company that has been specialising in the development of technology, especially in the field of innovative water treatment systems and in-line bio sensors, since its establishment in 2007. AquaExplorer, one of the so-called techno start-ups from the rapidly growing Leeuwarden water hub, has attracted local and international clients and consists of a team of 23 people, most of them with a background in water purification technology, molecular biology and microbiology. The company is also highly market oriented, as is evident from the fact that it has an experienced business development department. The market’s knowledge and experience in the field of rapid, autonomous DNA detection technology in particular makes substantive collaboration with Wetsus the obvious choice. For that reason, AquaExplorer has joined the new research theme of process monitoring and control, and supplied the theme manager, Dr Gijsbert Jansen.

Dutch Rainmaker
Dutch Rainmaker ( combines windmill technology, drinking water technology and cooling technology in a unique innovation that produces drinking water from air. This young enterprise is also based in the Leeuwarden water hub. Dutch Rainmaker is participating on the new theme of Non-piped Water Systems and will also supply the theme manager in the person of Antoine Engelaar.

New theme: Non-piped water systems
The new Non-piped Water Systems theme focuses on the development of point-of-use and point-of-disposal water treatment technology. The subsequent innovations can be utilised in large parts of the world where water distribution and sanitary systems are still lacking. The development of decentralised technologies will eliminate the need to install these hugely expensive traditional systems. The requirements of the water to be produced depend largely on the application: low quality for industrial and irrigation purposes; high quality for drinking water; ultra-high quality for boiler feed water. The point-of-use water treatment systems make it possible to produce all the above quality levels from local water sources.
This theme also fits in with the ambitions of the millennium development goals.

Wetsus receives working visit from Committee of Experts

Commissie van Wijzen

The Committee of Experts responded positively to the research programme and the innovation model of Wetsus during a working visit on 23 February 2009. From left to right on the photo: Cees Buisman, Aleid Diepeveen, Leo Halvers, Arie van der Hek, Kees Kroese, Johannes Boonstra, Lous van Vloten-Doting and Gert Jan Euverink

Cradle 2 Cradle Islands

The Cradle 2 Cradle Islands project was launched in the past month ( project is a collaborative effort between 22 partners from the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Great Britain. Its objective is to transform the North Sea Islands, including Texel and Ameland, into a model for sustainable innovations in the field of water, energy and waste management. The aim is to make the Wadden Islands self-supporting within 20 years.

Cradle to cradle

Wetsus plays a leading role in the Water Projects. Its role is to initiate and facilitate the implementation and development of innovative water technology. The focus is on establishing a closed water cycle on the islands through methods such as:

  • producing fresh water from salt water;
  • sanitation, separation, purification and reuse of household waste;
  • stockpiling and utilising rain water
  • generating energy from water

Wetsus project leader Heleen Sombekke: “The islands could become a great role model for new innovations in the field of water technology. That is why we want to hear from all parties with goals and ideas for this aspect of cradle to cradle.” (

Wetsus in Watersense
Wetsus is collaborating with parties including the Water Boards of Drenthe and Hunze & Aa’s on the Watersense project, which entails the positioning of about 100 sensors to enable the measurement of water quality and quantity at any point in time. The data can then be used for nature conservation, water collection and agricultural purposes.

The next theme team meetings are scheduled for 22 April 2009. The meetings will take place in the morning, to leave the afternoon free for a number of interesting workshops. The event will be hosted at the Post Plaza in Leeuwarden; invitations will follow.

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