Developing low-tech, cost-effective dewatering techniques is one of the core areas of expertise of NETICS: turning a problem into a resource.
A constant supply of waste, such as sludge and manure, flows from cities as well as rural areas. In the Netherlands, millions of cubic metres of sludge are removed annually, thus creating a substantial, continuous source of raw materials for construction. Large surpluses of sludge are also available in other countries worldwide, mainly in delta areas. Often, the sludge is a burden and a cause of poor living conditions or even floods. Large surpluses of manure exist as well: in the Netherlands alone there is a structural annual surplus of manure of tens of millions of kilos. Increasingly this manure is sold to Germany and Eastern European countries. Dehydrating the manure makes for lower transportation costs. Cheap, low-tech dewatering techniques offer many business opportunities in the Netherlands and abroad, as they help create cheap, readily available raw materials than can be (re-)used in ingenious ways.
Depending on the amount of sludge, several dewatering techniques exist. In many cases an innovative low-tech dewatering technique will be best, as it is also suitable for remediation of polluted sludge. One low-tech dewatering technique makes use of tubes made of geotextile. These tubes can dewater and filter large amounts of sludge in two weeks. NETICS has invented a reusable system that uses geotextile for cyclic dewatering of sludge, resulting in semi-solid soil. This system has been deployed (inter)nationally and has achieved good results. Of course, depending on the project, different types of dewatering techniques can be used.