22/09/2016

A new network aims to promote the treatment and recycling of wastewater from SMEs in the Latin America

The TRITON network, funded by the CYTED program, aims to promote the treatment and recycling of wastewater from the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Latin American region by using sustainable solutions based in biological processes. It consists of nine research groups and eight SMEs from eight different countries. The GENOCOV research group from the UAB is the coordinator of the network.
istockphoto/tuachanwatthana

Currently, the treatment and recycling of industrial wastewater is a problem that is not resolved in Latin America, either because it is not done properly or because it is made with expensive and unsustainable technologies. This problem becomes greater when we refer to the wastewater of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which often do not have enough means and knowledge to address the problem.

In addition, there is a lack of harmonized legislation among countries in the region hampering the transfer and application of treatment technologies between companies from different countries. Thus, the TRITON network aims to promote the treatment and recycling of wastewater of Latin American SMEs through sustainable solutions based in biological processes.

The concept of TRITON intends to solve the problem posed by Latin American SMEs that require new technologies to treat and recycle its process water. These technologies are developed by universities and R&D centres of the network and transferred to SMEs with technological capacity to implement them on an industrial scale at end-users SMEs.


Pillars of TRITON network

Thus, the objectives of the TRITON network are to identify the issues of treatment and recycling of wastewater and process water in the different industrial sectors of Latin American SMEs; to promote stable and continuous scientific interactions between Iberoamerican research groups working in the field of treatment and recycling of industrial water; to design, to develop and to disseminate sustainable solutions for the treatment and recycling of industrial wastewater based in biological processes; and to integrate basic, technical and economic aspects of sustainable solutions for the treatment and recycling of industrial wastewater.

TRITON aims to promote the technology transfer from research centres to technological SMEs, and from these, to end-users SMEs; to help Latin-American Public Administrations to develop, where appropriate, and to harmonize the legislation regarding the treatment and recycling of industrial wastewater; to provide training of human resources of the research groups and SMEs in wastewater treatment and recycling; to promote the exchange of information, experience and human capital; to prepare technical documents with the information and results obtained during the action; and to develop and disseminate a software application that helps select Latin American SMEs, in a easy way, the best solution for the treatment and recycling of wastewater.

The expected benefits for the Latin American Region are an increase in the business activity of SMEs by increasing their competitiveness. The end-users SMEs because they will reduce their environmental problems and increase its water recycling and the technological SMEs because they will have in their business portfolio new, more affordable and sustainable products. Also an increase in the collaboration between countries through research groups represented in the TRITON network is expected. This collaboration will develop new technologies and transfer them to market through technological SMEs.

It is also expected an improvement in the training of human capital in the region (university students and technicians of companies) in the treatment and recycling of industrial wastewater; and the support for the governments of the Region in the development, where appropriate, and harmonization of laws about the treatment and recycling of industrial wastewater.

Throughout its four years of existence, the network will perform several tasks and provide 24 different deliverables, such as: a website with all the information generated by the network, a computer-based application so that SMEs can choose the best alternative for the treatment and recycling of  their wastewater, seminars with audiovisual material aimed at universities, companies and public administrations and 8 short research visits between the research groups of the network aimed for young researchers.

Funded by the CYTED program, the TRITON network (CYTED 316RT0508)  consists of nine research groups from 8 different countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Nicaragua, Portugal and Uruguay), 4 technological SMEs from 4 different countries (Chile, Spain, Mexico and Portugal) and another 4 end-users SMEs from 3 different countries (Argentina, Chile and Uruguay). The GENOCOV research group from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) is the coordinator of the network.

The CYTED programme is a platform that promotes and supports multilateral cooperation in science and technology, aimed at the transfer of knowledge, experience, information, results and technologies among countries in the Latin American region. CYTED is a common instrument of national systems of science and technology promoting the cooperation in research and innovation, and the actions of technology transfer to the business sector and the creation of business incubators in the Latin American region.

Julián Carrera
Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering
julian.carrera@uab.cat

María Eugenia Suárez-Ojeda
Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering
mariaeugenia.suarez@uab.cat

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