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  • Writer's pictureGraytec Global

Graytec AB Makes Progress

Link to the article in it's original Swedish format/Pa Svenska:

Graytec creates sustainable change within the new area with the Chalmers area as a test bed

March 29, 2019

(From Chalmers University of Technology)

The innovative company Graytec is the first in the world to develop an infrastructure for recycling greywater, instead of treating it like sewage/brown water.

"We want to create a sustainable solution that enables property owners to control the environmental impact of their own wastewater. Standalone circular systems in residential and commercial buildings where we take advantage of the opportunity to save water, energy and the environment. We have become good at garbage sorting, but we waste a lot of water in buildings by sending it right into the sewage systems," says founder Per Ericson.

For Graytec and the project's development, the network in the Chalmers area has been invaluable. "It gives us access to broad knowledge at a high level and the research-based weight that funding from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and Vinnova requires. Not least, we have the opportunity to test the system sharply, at a unique research facility in the area, namely HSB Living Lab."

As a founder of Graytec, Per Ericson represents a group of people dedicated to making change by thinking new and changing how we do things.

"Our world is facing a serious water crisis and it is only a small part of the world's water that we can use today: less than 0.4% - and much of it is polluted. In some regions of the world there is an acute crisis and the UN expects that by 2025, two-thirds of the global population will live in areas with water shortages. Even in Scandinavia, we now see problems in certain areas, for example in our archipelagos," says Ericson.

"We cannot build sustainable communities if we do not take care of our water systems." 

Leading in recycling of gray water in residential environments

"Today our sewage systems are not designed to take advantage of the energy stored in the water, something we at Graytec want to change. The fairly clean gray water that is flushed out of the bathroom is not used at all today but is mixed with all other waste water from the property. Most of the toxins and microplastics are not cleaned at all in our treatment plants and come out into our oceans, lakes and watercourses. Even this problem can counter our innovative solution via local filters that collect the particles so that we can then take care of them," said Ericson.

Graytec's ambition is to be a leader in the recycling of gray water in residential environments. After nearly four years of development, they take the step to sharp testing, the first of its kind in the world. Their patent-pending system is now being installed in a unique research facility in the Chalmers area, HSB Living Lab; a living lab with 29 apartments for students and guest researchers where the effects and effectiveness of Graytec's recycling and water purification technology will be analyzed. The goal is to gain knowledge that can shorten the time it takes before the solution is launched on a world market.

Solution matches both urban environment and archipelago environment

The purpose of the project is to ensure that we return a clean and healthy hot water to the same showers and sinks we take away from the water. By separating the gray water from the bathroom into a separate sewage system, we can lead it to a purification system that removes all contaminants, bacteria and viruses. Advanced sensors and control systems ensure water quality, heat recovery and ensure that poor water is discharged into the sewage system. The residents' experience will be an important part of mapping acceptance of these types of systems. This project is important in order to be able to change traditional solutions and take advantage of the decreasing amount of usable water we have globally and at the same time safeguard the environment.

A similar project is planned in collaboration with KTH in Stockholm, which conducts a lot of research on water needs and current water shortages in the archipelago environment. "We intend to look more closely at a more scaled-down solution for, for example, single-family homes," says Per Ericson.

Collaboration means everything

According to plan, Graytec will have a scalable solution out in the market by 2020, ready for markets that face water supply challenges such as the US, China and India. They want strong reference cases that speed up the change in standards and regulations within the EU that governs the area.

"The lack of innovation we see in this area is partly due to rules that were designed in another time, based on old knowledge. Only that our VA systems are built according to the same principles as in Roman times! It is a slow process to bring about a global change where many need to be involved - but we can start with how we design our systems today! A large part of my job is to gather research and authorities to drive these issues faster. Collaboration, in short," says Ericson.

Graytec works closely with the Swedish Standards Institute with the aim of raising the knowledge for the opportunities that an updated regulatory framework can provide and collaboration takes place at all levels and means everything, says Per Ericson. Here, Chalmers University of Technology has been crucial, not least the collaboration with Chalmers researchers. "Here I get access to a lot of knowledge at a very high level. We operate in a wide area, which makes me dependent on people who can do more than me in detail. Initially, I needed people who could tell if it was a crazy idea or if there was actually a market for my solution. We have received a lot of help from Chalmers Industrial Engineering and all the combined expertise around Johanneberg Science Park has been invaluable, not least to keep track of suitable financing solutions and suitable calls, and then to produce qualified applications that have given the project financing. It simply hadn't gone without the network I have here," says Ericson.

Shares agenda for sustainable development

The basis for everything Gratytec does and the decisions taken are the UN's 17 global goals for 2030. An agenda for sustainable development agreed by the countries of the world to achieve four great things by the year 2030: To abolish extreme poverty, to reduce inequalities and injustice in the world, to promote peace and justice and to resolve the climate crisis. "Graytec touches on a couple of these goals and we simply have to start somewhere. We cannot build sustainable communities if we do not take care of our water systems," concludes Ericson.

6 environmental benefits with Graytec's solution according to Per Ericson

By cleaning waste water in the building and not allowing it to reach public wastewater, we can minimize the exposure of toxins and other pollutants to sewage treatment plants. The wastewater treatment plants (if available) cannot filter and clean everything such as microplastics, this therefore ends up in our watercourses and seas with serious consequences.If the waste water treatment plants do not need to clean gray water from the bathrooms, this can have positive consequences, for example more concentrated waste water for biogas production. By developing technology to collect waste and safely handle it locally, we build sustainable environments. By saving up to 80% of the energy used to heat cold water to hot water, we reduce emissions. By using up to 60% less water in buildings, we get far-reaching benefits such as: population growth in urban areas is possible without costly infrastructure, reduced energy requirements for cities and urban areas. By creating circular recycling systems in buildings, we make the properties more autonomous and less dependent on the municipal energy and V / A systems. This provides advantages for both property owners and the municipal systems from a sustainability perspective.


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