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Pollution Prevention & Resource Recovery

The Pollution Prevention and Resource Recovery Chair Group focuses on the development of rational approaches to sustainable waste management via cleaner production, appropriate waste treatment and resource recovery in both the water supply and sanitation, and the industrial sectors.

Pollution prevention and resource recovery is a growth market due to the rapidly increasing volumes of waste and waste water being produced, and tougher legislation being introduced worldwide. The main challenges lie in developing regions, where there is poor coverage of effective and reliable waste water and sanitation systems. Considering the cost and (lack of) rationale of systems developed in the industrialized countries, there is an increasing need for reorientation, focusing on new concepts, process optimization, waste reduction and resource recovery.


The activities of the Chair Group include postgraduate education, development projects, advisory services and research. The group contributes to the MSc programmes in Sanitary Engineering and in Environmental Science and Technology in the following areas:

  • proper resource management, with an emphasis on the tools for analyzing (industrial) processes and deciding on actions to improve process efficiency;
  • anaerobic waste water treatment;
  • natural systems for the treatment of domestic waste water and for resource recovery; including photo-bioreactors.
  • new approaches to urban waste management, based on reducing water use and improving waste management at the local scale; and
  • modelling of waste treatment systems, with an emphasis on the activated sludge process.

The Chair Group contributes to capacity building projects in a number of countries, including Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Palestine and Zimbabwe.

Research focuses on three related lines:

  • Natural systems for the treatment of, and resource recovery from, domestic waste water, with an emphasis on nutrient cycles and related biological processes;
  • Industrial process analysis, using life cycle analysis, in the area of water and waste water treatment; and
  • Modelling of nutrient removal in activated sludge systems for domestic as well as industrial waste water treatment.

Most research projects are implemented in collaboration with partner institutions in developing countries.

Staff members

PhD fellows