HMRecycle - HMRecycle
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Eurostars Project: E!113543 »Recycling of heavy metals from wastewaters - HMRecycle«


HMRecycle project will introduce a heavy metal (HM) recycling system for wastewater treatment or more precisely, the novel membrane biological reactor (MBR) with innovative nano pre-treatment cartridge that contains functionalized nanomaterials (FNMs) as adsorbents for heavy metals. The latter are capable of specific and selective removal of the most important contaminants in leachate/industrial wastewaters – heavy metals (eg. Cu, Zn, Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, Hg). Adsorbents can later be reused and heavy metals recycled. With the optimization of functionalized nanomaterials (FNMs) and the innovative HMRecycling MBR system, we will be able to clean and reuse not only municipal, but also leachate/industrial wastewaters, where existing MBR treatment plants are not effective.

HMRecycling system represents a complete market novelty, as it has wider applicability and introduces a new technological approach to the recycling of heavy metals from wastewaters. Despite the fact that the advancement of membrane technology in recent years has allowed a significant reduction in the cost of initial investment in technology, high operating costs remain a significant problem. The technological development in the wastewater treatment field is therefore intensively directed towards the development of new approaches and solutions that would enable reduction of these costs and a faster breakthrough of the MBR use in leachate and industry wastewaters. For the successful realization of the project following activities are of main importance.


Initially the most appropriate FNMs for HM adsorption will be selected based on their characteristics and applied into the nano pre-treatment cartridge during its development and testing the removal efficiency. The developed cartridge/nanomaterials will be tested on regeneration possibilities and the impact of nanomaterials on water samples and the biomass tested. The protocol for scale-up production of nanomaterials in industrial scale will be developed & large quantities of FNMs further used in a smaller prototype of the novel MBR treatment plant system.

The performance efficiency results and LCA/LCCA analysis of the prototype with model and real wastewater samples will serve in the final step of the project, to develop and validate the optimized novel HMRecycling MBR system implemented in real environment. The novel HMRecycling MBR system will reprezent a novel, up to 40% more efficient treatment system in comparison to the classical MBR, as well as an easy handling solution for leachate/industrial wastewater treatment and reuse, for extraction of secondary raw materials from such wastewaters, for reduction of operating costs and reduction of negative environmental impacts. With the novel HMRecycle system we will enter a global, fast growing market for wastewater treatment technologies.

The Important Intermediate Activities For Realization Of Main Project Goal Are:

Optimization of FNMs synthesis for adsorption of HMs,

Development of cartridge that contain the FNMs/adsorbents with user-friendly manner design,

Performance of FNMs regeneration,

Scale-up production of FNMs, which is a highly demanding task.

The Main Advantages Of HMRecycle Compared To The Existing Solutions Are Following:

Improved cleaning efficiency up to 40 % (negative impact of HMs on biodegradation in the secondary water treatment process is reduced),

Re-usability of purified water in the cooling systems of different industrial plants, for watering the surrounding grasslands etc.,

Possibility of regeneration of used FNMs and their reuse,

Possibility of recycling of specific HMs as secondary raw materials.


The goal is to create added value and present our treatment plant

Due to the continuous increase of the world's population & increasing demand for water, it is crucial that we direct our efforts into recycling leachate and industrial wastewater and also the extraction of secondary raw materials from such wastewater. With the novel HMRecycle system, which will include a state of the art nano pre-treatment cartridge, we will enter a global, fast growing market for wastewater treatment technologies. With the novel HMRecycling system, we will primarily focus on compost landfills, which collect process different types of organic waste and industries/industrial plants that produce water with a high content of heavy metals. With this treatment plant we will target wastewater containing copper, zinc, cadmium, chrome, nickel, lead & mercury. With an integrated nano pre-treatment cartridge before the MBR reactor, these metals can be extracted from waste water. Furthermore the recycled heavy metals can be sold as secondary raw materials to the metal processing industry, the automotive industry or as an independent product on open market.

At the initial stage of launching the new treatment plant, we will focus on the European market and then into the markets of North America and Asia. We will use the existing marketing channels and long-term strategic partnerships of IOS, as well as the existing contacts of our project partner Roto Grad.

Active marketing through joint appearances of both partners at various fairs as well as advertising through professional magazines, e-mail and social networks will also be vital for the long term success. The goal is to create added value and present our treatment plant as an advanced and efficient product that will help customers reduce the consumption of fresh water, to ensure better quality of wastewater, to establish a closed water circuit in the production process (reuse of wastewater), reduce operating costs and negative impacts on the environment with easy handling.

The operation is partially funded by EU funds and by MGRT - Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Slovenia and Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments (HAMAGBICRO).