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Aguas Andinas, Chile’s largest water utility company, has partnered with SUEZ to process Santiago’s wastewater. The biofactories reduce pollution in the Mapocho river and generate bioenergy and fertilisers in the process.

Aguas Andinas and SUEZ are transforming Santiago’s three wastewater treatment plants into biofactories that convert wastewater and sewer sludge, a wastewater treatment byproduct, into clean energy, fertiliser, and clean water.

Wastewater from urban and industrial environments is directed to the biofactories, which harness natural processing techniques in order to minimise energy and chemical usage. Low-energy nitrogen treatment, coupled with the transformation of carbon into biomethane and dry biosolids, have enabled the plant to become energy-positive. The wastewater treatment plant has become a centre that produces resources (water, nutrients, fertiliser) and energy (biomethane, electricity, heat), with minimal environmental impact on noise, odours, and landscaping. Treated wastewater is reused directly or indirectly for agriculture to enhance the resilience of territories and to mitigate water scarcity risks.

In developing and emerging countries, SUEZ identifies the greenhouse gas emissions mitigation imperative as a good entry point to catalyse and accelerate waste management systems. Although many governments have already included references to their waste and water management policies in their current Nationally Determined Contributions, SUEZ welcomes clearer and more specific policies as part of the Caring for Climate initiative.

The three plants produce 49GWh of electricity and 177GWh of natural gas annually, enough for the consumption of 50,000 and 22,500 inhabitants respectively. The biofactories will be zero-waste, energy self-sufficient, and carbon neutral by 2022, a solution that contributes to SUEZ’s and Aguas Adinas’ water stewardship practices adopted as part of the CEO Water Mandate and helps achieve their emission reduction targets set through the Science Based Targets initiative.

SUEZ’s 1.5°C commitment

SUEZ was one of the first companies to have committed to more ambitious science-based emission reduction targets aligned with 1.5°C of global warming and have these targets validated.

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Peder Holk Nielsen

Catalysing Change

Novozymes