Afterlife Project – Converting WasteWater into PHA

The AFTERLIFE project proposes a flexible, cost- and resource-efficient process for recovering and valorizing the relevant fractions from wastewater. It will represent an advance on existing approaches to wastewater treatment, which rely on physic-chemical and biological methods.

The AFTERLIFE process will separate out the different components of value using a series of membrane filtration units that will separate all the solids in the wastewater. These will then treated to obtain high-pure extracts and metabolites or, alternatively, to be converted into value-added biopolymers; polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs).

In addition to the value extracted from the solids, the remaining outflow of the water will be ultrapure and ready for re-use.


The overarching objective of the AFTERLIFE project is to demonstrate, at TRL-5, an innovative wastewater treatment that simultaneously recovers compounds of interest while converting the remaining organic matter into a high-volume added value biopolymer. Specifically, it sets out to:

  • Develop the filtration system for recovering suspended and soluble solids in wastewater by using membrane filtration units.
  • Develop the process for recovering and purifying valuable compounds in the concentrates extracted in the filtration step.
  • Develop an anaerobic/aerobic process for converting the low value-added organic matter into PHAs.
  • Optimize the resources in the process, following a circular economy approach
  • Design and optimize the AFTERLIFE process from a holistic perspective following a Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) approach
  • Conduct a demonstration, at a pilot scale, using real industrial wastewater to generate the end products
  • Prove the economic and industrial feasibility for AFTERLIFE process along with a comprehensive Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) and cost assessment.
  • Promote exploitation of the project’s results and expand its impact


The AFTERLIFE project aims to deliver a substantial positive impact in the progress of wastewater treatment technologies and relevant fractions recovery.

Specifically, it will:

  • Validate that AFTERLIFE provides recovery rates that are comparable to, or better than, those of competing technologies.
  • Successfully recycle or reuse at least 10 percent, in dry weight, of the suspended solid fractions.
  • Create a new cross-sectorial interconnection in bio-based economy clusters.
  • Create cooperation projects through cross-industry clusters.
  • Set the foundations for at least one new bio-based value chain and one new bio-based material.
  • Lead to 30 new consumer products by 2020.
  • Attract broad participation from SMES.



Afterlife Website

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