IWA Resource Recovery Conference 2025

From Novel Concepts to Business

May 19-23, 2025
Leeuwarden, Fryslân, the Netherlands


It is our great pleasure to welcome you to the 6th edition of the IWA Resource Recovery Conference, which will be hosted in Leeuwarden (the Netherlands), the capital of water technology.

This event is organized by Wetsus in collaboration with Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University and Research. With this conference, we want to showcase and celebrate the experiences, lessons and results of more than 15 years of experimenting and upscaling of resource recovery around the world. Now it is time to transform these from concepts to business examples. Resource recovery is a very inspiring topic but has not been an easy journey and many lessons have been learned in both upscaling novel technologies and developing new markets. Our ambition is to make this conference a meeting point between academia and industry to ensure that research and industry can learn and inspire each other, thus working towards scaled-up and impactful solutions. We also want to put in the spotlight the future water leaders, the Young Water Professionals, and strengthen the link with policymakers to ensure that the potential of resource recovery is stimulated rather than hindered by legal frameworks. Shaping the future and improving our current practices can only be achieved by collaborative work. This event is the perfect opportunity to do so, via inspiring discussion and meaningful connections. We are looking forward to welcome all of you in Leeuwarden to make circular use of resources a reality.

The conference co-chairs,

Thomas Prot, Leon Korving, Yuemei Lin & Annemiek ter Heijne


Program committee

Organizing committee


Conference topics

Initiatives to recover resources from water sources have now been ongoing for more than 15 years and some first initiatives are now reaching commercial scale or are getting close. In this sixth edition of this biannual conference, we want to show the developments in the field and inspire people to start recovering resources or develop new recovery approaches. In particular we want to learn from current initiatives that are moving towards commercial scale and to see what are good practices and which obstacles need to be taken away. In this way we intend to contribute to the acceleration of the implementation of resource recovery. In short, so that we can go from “novel concepts to business”.

Often resource recovery initiatives focus on only one resource but we need a more integrated approach. We invite contributions that integrate multiple resource recovery approaches to obtain circular waste treatment plants.

How can we recover “top of the value pyramid” resources such as proteins, polymers and specific chemicals from waste water.

How to innovatively transform significant parts of what is now considered as waste into products with added value such as biogas, biosolids or char.

Nutrient management is so key to water treatment that it deserves a specific topic. We will have subtopics on phosphorus and nitrogen but we should also look at possible integrations. Also, we will have a subtopic on other nutrients such as K and trace elements.

How can water recovery be combined with resource recovery. Water recovery by itself will not be the main focus of the conference.

Salty waste waters are difficult to discharge so how can you recover value from the minerals in your waste water?

Let us know if you can recover a resource that not a lot of people have thought of yet.

How can industries valorise by-products from their waste water even though this may not be core business.

How can a more local scale stimulate resource recovery, for instance via recovery of cleaner resources or via more stakeholder engagement.

How can you tap into the potential value of your recovered resource. How can non-monetary values be taken into account.

Ok, your initiative was a complete failure, but at least you tried and you learned a lot. But like a fox we shall not be caught twice in the same snare

How do we reach end-of-waste in a safe way and comply to regulations. How can we guarantee a safe and consistent quality of recovery products.

Maybe you thought of a topic that we did not think of but should have. Then this is your topic to submit your breakthrough development.

Each abstract will be reviewed by three members of the scientific committee and evaluated on four criteria: novelty, relevance, impact and quality.

Important dates

Registration fees

*Young Water Professionals (YWP) are 35 years old or younger.
**2023-Fees-Benefits-and-Country-Classification_GBP-Revised.pdf (iwa-network.org) .
***The registration fee includes the welcoming cocktail, lunch, gala dinner, and coffee breaks during the conference, admission to the conference venue and all sessions (from Tuesday to Thursday), and all conference materials.
**** Other activities such as pre-conference workshops, social and technical tours come with a small added cost (see add-ons when buying your ticket).


The conference will be held at the city theatre “De Harmonie”, one of the largest theatres in The Netherlands. From solar panels on the roof to conscious use of water and electricity, from fair trade coffee to the use of local products at the restaurant, De Harmonie holds strong values concerning sustainability and environmental responsibility.


Book your stay for this event at one of Leeuwarden’s beautiful hotels, most of them within a walking distance from De Harmonie.


There are multiple ways in which you can travel to Leeuwarden. From the airports of Amsterdam or Eindhoven it will take respectively 2 and 3 hours to travel to Leeuwarden by either car or train. You can plan your trip and check the current travel times and detailed information at 9292.nl or the 9292 mobile application.

Past events

IWA Resource Recovery Conference 2023 : From innovation to reality



© 2024 Wetsus. All Rights Reserved.

Towards an economy of value preservation | By Niels Faber


The realisation of a circular economy has thus far unfolded under the assumption that it would fit within existing economic arrangements. In practice, we witness many circular initiatives struggling to give shape to their ambitions, let alone develop to maturity. These past months, various material recycling organisations terminated their activities, seeing virgin alternatives from other parts of the world flooding the market at prices against they cannot compete. If the transition towards a circular economy (i.e. an economy of value preservation) is to be taken seriously, a new perspective on value in our economic system seems unavoidable, as the rewriting of the rules of the economic game. At this moment, current perceptions of value stand in the way of this transition both at micro as well as macro levels. Several contours for a collective exploration of new directions of value and economic configuration that foster circular transition will be addressed.

Searching Innovation for the Common Good | By Cees Buisman


In his key note he will conclude after a life of innovations that it is impossible that humanity will stay within the save planetary boundaries with innovation only. We should be more critical about the behaviour of the rich population in the world and more critical about new innovations that prove to be dangerous, like the PFAS crisis shows at this moment. In his keynote he will investigate how to look at the world that can stay within the save planetary boundaries, how should we change ourselves? It is clear if we only talk about the words of science and systems we miss the essential words of how we should cooperate and change ourselves. And his search for coherent save innovations. Which innovations will be save and will lead to a fair and sustainable world? And will lead to a world we want to live in.

Future-fit economic models: What do they have in common – how can they join forces? | By Christian Felber


There is a growing number of new sustainable, inclusive, cohesive, participatory, just and humane economic models. A possible next step in the discourse about them is the comparative analysis in order to find out key commonalities, potential synergies, and “requirements” for a future-fit economic model. The author and initiator of the Economy for the Common Good provides an overview of these „new sustainable economic models“ and compares them according to underlying values, principles, and practical ways of implementation. The keynote addresses the cooperative spirit of the conference and prepares the ground for its public highlight on the eve of June 3rd, the round table with representatives of diverse future-fit economic models.

The era of postgrowth economics | By Matthias Olthaar


The scientific debate on whether economies should always continue to grow increasingly becomes a political and societal debate. On the one hand further growth for the most affluent countries seems neither possible nor valuable, but on the other hand there is still lack of understanding and knowledge what a non-growing economy should look like and could best be governed. In this lecture we discuss various policy measures that can be realistically implemented, take into account government finances and aim at a higher quality of life despite a non-growing economy.

Democratic principles for a sustainable economy | By Lisa Herzog


Democracy is under pressure, and less and less able to stir the economy into a sustainable direction. Therefore, to stabilize democracy and to make possible the socio-ecological transformation of the economy, democratic principles need to be implemented directly in the economy. This is not only a matter of morality, but also has practical advantages. Democratizing the economy can increase legitimacy and take advantage of the “knowledge of the many” to accelerate the transformation. Democratic practices, especially deliberation, allow bringing together different forms of knowledge, which is crucial for the local implementation of principles of social and ecological sustainability. This talk explores what this idea means in more concrete terms, from democratic participation in the workplace to the democratization of time.

Market, state, association, and well-being. An historical approach | By Bas van Bavel


Over the past decades, markets have conventionally been seen as the best instrument to stimulate economic growth and enhance prosperity and well-being. The automatic link between markets and economic growth is increasingly questioned, however, as well as the automatic link between economic growth and enhancement of well-being. This has led to attempts to capture well-being development more directly than through GDP per capita figures and has produced a more variegated picture of well-being growth. Also, this has led to a shift of focus to other coordination systems than the market, as primarily the state but increasingly also the association. Analyses of the historical record suggest that especially the latter could be a vital component in future well-being.