Resource other components
The opportunities to harvest resources from used water go beyond the clearest areas of energy, heat and nutrients.
Dutch expertise is prominent in this respect also. Water treatment plants and networks act as a sink for the activities in urban areas. This means there can be the opportunity to ‘mine’ them. This includes the potential to recover precious metals, for example. This type of opportunity is even clearer for the used water from industries, either the outflow or at strategic points within the plant.
There is another type of opportunity as well. Conventional water treatment plants in effect produce sludge, a microbial biomass. Alternative approaches include using used water to culture algae which can in turn be used to produce biofuels or biopolymers.