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31 million for groundbreaking water project

December 18 2023

Unity4Water is an innovative initiative from RISE and Mälardalen University that combines the latest technology with social science. The project aims to revolutionize the reuse of wastewater and process water to use it as a resource in food production. The three-year project has recently secured significant funding totaling SEK 31 million.

By integrating advanced systems, automation and sensors, Unity4Water aims to optimize the reuse of wastewater and process water. The aim is to present successful, sustainable methods for converting wastewater and process water into resources for crop irrigation.

– Water and the availability of water is an increasingly important issue for the process industry which consumes large amounts of water, both in Sweden and abroad. Unity4Water is a strategic project for us, which means that it has support from the program’s board and will be implemented in close collaboration with the program’s management, says Malin Rosqvist, project manager at RISE for PiiA – Process Industrial IT & Automation.

Expected effects and results

By setting a new standard for recycling and value creation of water in food production, Unity4Water is expected to lead to a green transition and paradigm shift in the view of water and other resources. The project will serve as a research unit and show-case to visualize and engage stakeholders. The goal is to optimize the system for future commercialization and expand the innovative technology internationally.

Planned approach and implementation

The project is coordinated by Mälardalen University (MDU) and is run in collaboration with RISE and involves close cooperation with all project partners. A research and demonstration unit will be established at MDU, where treated water from different community sources is used for irrigation of leafy vegetables. Through a number of work packages, the project team will accelerate the results to tests close to industry.

– In our rapid and changing world, where climate change and a growing population pose serious challenges, it is crucial that we re-evaluate the way we use water, energy and produce food. Water should never be seen as a waste. Instead, we need to look at all water; drinking water, wastewater and process water, as a single resource and always value this resource highly. We can no longer afford to waste our water,” says Monica Odlare, Professor of Environmental Engineering and coordinator of Unity4Water.

The work in Unity4Water is carried out within the Strategic Innovation Programme Process Industrial IT and Automation, a joint initiative by Vinnova, Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency. The project’s total budget is SEK 31 million, of which just over half comes from innovative business partners.

Read more about the project