Sustainable Electrochemical Reduction of contaminants of emerging concern and Pathogens in wastewater treatment plants effluent for Irrigation of Crops


Project coordinator: Lothar SCHÄFER - Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering
and Thin Films (IST) - Germany

Communication contact:  Jan GÄBLER - jan.gaebler(at)

Prof. Paola Verlicchi University of Ferrara  (UNIFE) Italy
Mrs Rebecca Schwantes SolarSpring GmbH (SSP) Germany
Prof. Manuel Andrés Rodrigo University of Castilla La Mancha (UCLM) Spain
Dr Vítor Vilar Faculty of Engineering University of Porto (UP) Portugal
Mrs Marta Carvalho Águas de Portugal (AdP) Portugal
Dr Pawel Krzeminski Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) Norway
Prof. Gideon Wolfaardt Stellenbosch University (SU) South Africa


SERPIC will develop an integral technology, based on a multi-barrier approach, to treat the effluents of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to maximise the reduction of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs).
A membrane nanofiltration (NF) technology will be applied to reduce CECs in its permeate stream by at least 90 % while retaining the nutrients. Residual disinfection using chlorine dioxide produced electrochemically will be added to the stream used for crops irrigation (Route A). The CECs in the polluted concentrate (retentate) stream will be reduced by at least 80 % by light-driven electro-chemical oxidation. When discharged into the aquatic system (route B), it will contribute to the quality improvement of the surface water body. A prototype treatment plant will be set up and evaluated for irrigation in long-term
tests with the help of agricultural test pots. A review investigation of CECs spread will be performed at four regional showcases in Europe and Africa. It will include a detailed assessment of the individual situation and surrounding condition. Transfer concepts will be developed to transfer the results of the treatment technology to other regions, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

WP structure

WP number

Led by

WP number

Led by




Expected research results

  • Review investigation of CECs spread and transformation at four regional showcases in Europe and in Africa
  • Development of technology to reduce CECs from WWTP effluent by membrane filtration and light driven electro-chemical processes
  • A prototype treatment plant validated in relevant environment (TRL5) and powered by photovoltaics
  • Results about irrigation with the treated water via long-term agricultural growth tests

For more details on the work plan and expected impact of the project consult the AquaticPollutants booklet.

Keywords: irrigation, Reclamation, WWTP effluent, Electrochemical technologies, Renewable energy

Document Actions

published on 2021/10/15 10:29:00 GMT+1 last modified 2022-07-08T11:21:26+01:00