Use of hydroponic systems for resource efficient water reuse in agriculture


The project HypoWave is the first study of a hydroponic system for plant production that is operated with specially treated municipal wastewater. In this system, the plants grow in a nutrient solution without substrate. For this purpose, the municipal wastewater is treated by means of various technical process steps tailor-made for the intended purpose.


The aim is to develop a hydroponic system in which plants make optimum use of nutrients while at the same time ensuring high product quality with regard to pollutants such as heavy metals, organic trace substances or pathogens. This system also allows a significant increase in water resource efficiency through the reuse of wastewater and its circulation/recycling.

Focus of the work:

The system will be tested in a pilot project at the wastewater treatment plant of Hattorf. Here, the water management and agricultural issues are coordinated. In addition, an analysis of the stakeholder-related, institutional and legal framework conditions will be used to develop the forms of governance necessary for such a concept.

In addition, feasibility studies are carried out in selected European case studies in the Wolfsburg region, the Hessian Ried (both in Germany), the border triangle D-BE-NL and in Évora, Portugal. Together with an impact assessment, these studies should contribute to initiating the market preparation of the hydroponic systems. Depending on the location, there are of course different requirements for a successful implementation. And so, these requirements for different locations, applications and market segments will be identified accordingly.

At the same time, the research work and its results will be discussed and further developed in a stakeholder dialogue with experts from various areas. Together with the feasibility studies, this dialogue will initiate the implementation of the results. Additionally, subject-specific recommendations for the adaptation of the legal framework will be developed, as well as interactive handouts for practitioners regarding the potential assessment and decision support. On the part of the companies, adapted products will be developed for the application in the field of wastewater reuse in general and hydroponic systems in particular.


12/2019: Results and perspectives for practice

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