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The ALICE project aims to accelerate innovation in urban wastewater management for addressing the effects of climate change. In this frame, it will identify solutions and seek to remove barriers in their adoption and implementation by fostering an effective interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral cooperation among researchers, both experienced (ER) and early stage (ESR), and industry representatives, including water utilities and public organisations through mobility of project partner staff members.

Through mobility (secondments) of staff members facilitating the transfer of knowledge and boosting staff skills and career perspectives, ALICE aims to: explore society’s role, social behaviour and acceptability in the development of innovative management systems for urban WW; improve the urban resilience of WW infrastructures; enhance the reuse of reclaimed WW and resource recovery, exploring the leading edge technologies of urban WW treatment to broaden its dimension in Europe; explore the WW and energy nexus in WW treatment plants to reduce their carbon footprint, adopting a holistic approach to resource efficiency. 

ALICE will go beyond the state-of-the-art, suggesting new tools, methodologies and knowledge to boost innovation in the wastewater sector.

Research Activities

Investments in innovative wastewater systems need to be financed through taxpayers’ money or water charges, depending on a country’s regulatory framework. In either case, citizens, who will eventually benefit from these investments, will have to bear the cost of these new investments. Citizens’ attitudes, preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for upgrading wastewater infrastructures to cope with the effects from climate change has not been studied in-depth. The ALICE project is advancing research in this area by exploring the use of diverse methods, namely revealed preferences, stated preferences and experimental economics to explore social behaviour for the attributes of innovative urban wastewater systems. As many wastewater reuse projects have failed to win public acceptance, ALICE explores how “nudges” for behaviour change can facilitate the public acceptance of water reuse.
There is a shortage of assessment tools for climate change risk and vulnerability of wastewater infrastructure in urban areas, limiting identification of good adaptation measures and strategies to be incorporated in local plans. The ALICE project will fill in the gap, proposing a new approach and validating it through two different case studies in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Murcia (South of Spain), whose main challenge is flooding and drought, respectively.
The reuse of reclaimed urban wastewater has been emphasized within EU water policy as a possible alternative water source in regions of water scarcity. The ALICE project will explore the potential for use of low-energy demand processes like solar advanced oxidation processes (AOP), and solar Membrane Distillation/Forward Osmosis for reclaimed WW for removing priority substances, emerging contaminants and waterborne pathogens related to human health and food security.
Tools are needed to enhance the potential for energy and resource optimisation. Studies on the WW and renewable energy nexus have mainly focused on a single technology for WW treatment as a source of renewable energy while the integration and management of different renewable and WW treatments remains untapped. The ALICE project will explore how to optimally manage different renewable energy systems in WW utilities and to limit the impact on the grid through the use of excess electricity from intermittent renewable sources.

Mobility

The staff exchange and research programme of the ALICE project has been designed jointly by academic and industrial partners to develop research innovation activities and staff exchange to accelerate innovation in wastewater management in a changing climate.

Partners

The ALICE project brings together 13 partners from 6 EU countries (Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom) with complementary expertise, including 7 leading academic institutions with groundbreaking expertise in complementary areas, such as sustainable technologies and nanomaterials (UU), environmental and behavioral economics (QUB), water engineering (DCU), climate change and adaptation policies (BC3), water governance (UniMC), antibiotics and mobile resistance in water reuse (UCY), solar process for water reuse (CIEMAT-PSA); 2 water utilities to different geographical areas (Belfast, Northern Ireland; Fano, Italy), whose needs match the research expertise of the academic institutions; 1 regional authority , Region of Murcia, Southeast Spain, with an EU-leading expertise in the area of reuse of reclaimed, where more than 100 Mm3/yr of reclaimed wastewater is reused for agriculture, providing provide access to more than 90 treatment plants and 3 SMEs with expertise complementary to the academic institutions, from the design of tailored sludge treatment solutions (Dionergy), implementation of innovation strategy (REDINN), dissemination, awareness raising, media relations and information campaigns (Militos).

Synergies

The ALICE project and European partners are open to collaboration and synergies with interested stakeholders across Europe and beyond! Contact us to explore channels of cooperation.

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