Sustainable Business Hub

Reco Lab – Pilot Recovery Plant for Sustainable Management of Waste Water and Food Waste

The new city district of Oceanhamnen in Helsingborg has created a solution for separating and recovering different kinds of waste water and food waste at source. This leads to sustainable reuse of resources through Sweden’s first recovery plant, Reco Lab.

Like many other cities, Helsingborg in southern Sweden is growing fast. As part of the H+ project, the city is transforming the old harbour and industrial zone into new residential areas. One of them is Oceanhamnen, where innovative source separation and a wastewater system is being developed for 2,000 people as part of the Reco Lab project. The new buildings at Oceanhamnen separate grey and black water, and macerated food waste using three different pipelines. This significantly reduces water usage and enables efficient separation of nutrients that can be used as fertilizer.

Environmental benefits

The Reco Lab is a showcase , development plant and test bed for this new sustainable use of water and waste. By connecting the new buildings to three pipelines, grey waste water (bath, shower and washing water) is separated from black water (toilet waste), and food waste is ground and separated by macerators. This results in a number of environmental benefits:
• Less contaminated food waste leads to more biogas production and clean, certified bio-fertilizer for agriculture.
• Vacuum toilets decrease water usage and enable recovery of macronutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium and sulphur.
• The recovered nutrient products (struvite and ammonium sulphate) are turned into tailor-made fertilizer pellets, which is a major step in reducing the need for fossil-based fertilizers.
• Efficient heat recovery from source-separated grey water reduces energy consumption.
• Up to 80% of grey water can be recovered to drinking water quality.

Contribution to many environmental goals

Reco Lab’s separation system contributes to several environment goals, particularly reduced eutrophication, increased production of renewable energy, lower climate impact and less water usage. It’s also in line with several Agenda 2030 goals, such as clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and societies, affordable and clean energy for all, and sustainable consumption and production. In short, it’s not only relevant to the H+ project but also to many other cities and countries too.

Bringing different sectors together

A key success factor for the project is the city’s focus on creating synergies between the waste, water and energy sectors through collaboration with regional operators in these areas; water/sewage company NSVA, waste management company NSR and energy company Öresundskraft. An initial evaluation showed that separation at source provides the greatest environmental benefits and that these systems intersect the management of waste, water and energy. Close cooperation between these utilities was therefore key to completing the new system and the Reco Lab recovery plant. The lessons learned are that the challenges of introducing a recovery-based sanitation system are less technical and lie more in management between utilities, and that good governance is needed to successfully overcome these issues.

The Reco Lab is a good example of Swedish sustainable city planning philosophy, focusing on minimising energy consumption, resources and waste and changing the perspective to view waste as a resource. Another cornerstone is strong collaboration between the municipality, universities, companies and civil society.


Similar Best Practices

Social and environmental investments in Vårsången – a good deal for everyone

Social and environmental investments in Vårsången – a good deal for everyone

Renovating the run-down area Vårsången in Malmö has been a success. Previously Malmö residents moved to Vårsången because they needed somewhere to live. Now they move there because they want to live there. And at the same time the property value has increased significant. A proof that social and environmental measures make a good deal in the long run.

Siptex – Groundbreaking Textile Sorting

Siptex – Groundbreaking Textile Sorting

Siptex is the world’s first large-scale facility of its kind. It sorts textiles by colour and fibre composition using near-infrared light, allowing it to handle large flows and produce textile fractions suited to different recycling processes.

Ohboy, the Bicycle house!

Ohboy, the Bicycle house!

Cykelhuset Ohboy (Ohboy, the Bicycle house) is designed, built and owned by the architects Hauschild + Siegel. When owning the process from the sketch table to the finished product these architects really can follow up on their vision and align the product with their original plans.

Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden

Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden

With its 9500 sqm the Botanical Roof Garden of Augustenborg is an ever-evolving testbed of urban greening. Here you get to see more than 20 different solutions for greening a rooftop, from the most extensive green roofs to biosolar solutions and even a rooftop kitchen garden.

Power flexibility market – CoordiNet

Power flexibility market – CoordiNet

The CoordiNet project seeks to explore the value of flexibility through the creation of a power flexibility market. At times when many want to use electricity, participants in the market can offer to reduce their electricity use or increase the electricity production and sell this flexibility service to the distribution grid operator Vattenfall.

Sweden’s largest battery storage – a front-edge project to meet increasing electricity demand

Sweden’s largest battery storage – a front-edge project to meet increasing electricity demand

Many cities around the world are growing rapidly, which increases the need for electricity. In the city of Uppsala, Sweden, a possible solution is being developed, piloting one of Sweden’s largest battery storages to meet the increased demand, enable continued expansion and mitigate increased capacity needs.

MAX IV – synchrotron laboratory recycles excess heat via district heating system

MAX IV – synchrotron laboratory recycles excess heat via district heating system

The MAX IV Laboratory is a high-performance synchrotron laboratory which has been built with high ambitions to be energy efficient and mostly use energy from renewable resources. It recycles the excess heat via the district heating system in Lund and in return receives cooling water for the accelerator equipment. The facility was the first building to receive the classification BREEAM-SE.

Island of Gotland is Home to Sustainable Energy System Pilot Project

Island of Gotland is Home to Sustainable Energy System Pilot Project

The island of Gotland has been chosen as a pilot region for Sweden’s transition to a future sustainable energy system. The main requirements for this transition are a safe, reliable energy supply that is both ecologically sustainable and economically competitive.

Sensors and AI Technology Provide Smarter Power Grid Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Sensors and AI Technology Provide Smarter Power Grid Maintenance and Troubleshooting

In 2018, the electricity grid around Malå, Sweden, was fitted with a Smart Grid Surveillance system that detects and locates faults and deviations in the grid. The solution enables much more efficient and proactive maintenance, saving time and money.

Fossil-Free Battery Factory Accelerates Transition to Electric with 100% Green Energy

Fossil-Free Battery Factory Accelerates Transition to Electric with 100% Green Energy

Northvolt in Skellefteå is the greenest battery plant in Europe, providing sustainable replacement of fossil fuels through the large-scale manufacture of batteries for the electrification of transport and vehicles. What’s more, the plant uses 100% green energy.

Stockholm Innovates District Heating with New Solutions and Renewable Sources

Stockholm Innovates District Heating with New Solutions and Renewable Sources

In central Stockholm, you find one of Europe’s largest district heating and cooling systems. Close to 90% of the city’s buildings are connected to the district heating network, which uses several innovative energy sources, such as excess heat and wastewater.

Carbon Capture and Storage for Bioenergy Plant

Carbon Capture and Storage for Bioenergy Plant

In the journey towards a carbon-negative energy production, Sweden’s first Bio-CCS pilot plant was commissioned in 2019. This project is a part of Stockholm’s target towards a positive carbon footprint by 2040.

My Visit Plan Favorite star