Attachment 1

EIG CONCERT-Japan Projects Selected for Funding on “Smart Water Management for Sustainable Society” Joint Call

Title Researcher
Research Abstract
1 Removal of obstacles in widespread application of membrane technology: toward smart water management in future cities (Real Method) JAPAN
Katsuki KIMURA

Hokkaido University, Professor

Water is indispensable for human life and therefore needs to be managed in a sophisticated and smart manner in a sustainable society. More than half of the global population now live in urbanized areas, and this proportion is expected to increase in the future. Water management in urbanized areas will become more important in the future. At the same time, however, we are facing emerging problems such as deterioration and fluctuation in source water quality that are partly caused by climate change. It is difficult to cope with those problems with conventional water treatment technology.

Membrane technology has a great potential for dealing with such problems. Unfortunately, membrane technology has not gained universal popularity due to its drawbacks including membrane fouling (permeability decline). Also, control of micropollutants such as steroid hormones by membranes is difficult unless high-pressure membranes (nanofiltration (NF) or reverse osmosis (RO)), which are very energy intensive, are used. Fouling and micropollutants removal remain the major obstacles for widespread application of membranes. Removal of these obstacles and improving operator’s decision tools to easily manage their consequences on water quality and energy consumption are urgently needed to establish smart water management based on membrane technology.

This project aims to make membrane technology much more feasible by developing efficient decision tools for membranes’ operators and developing innovative materials/process to make membranes processes more reliable regarding emerging contaminants.

Andrea Iris SCHÄFER,
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology,
University of Poitiers, Associate Professor
Istanbul Technical University,
2 Sustainable water reclamation based on ceramic membrane filtration (SuWaCer) JAPAN
Norihide NAKADA,
Kyoto University, Senior Lecturer

By using ceramic membrane with high physical and chemical strength, we aim to improve and reuse treated wastewater supplied stably in urban areas. In cities developed in river basins, treated wastewater discharged in upstream is reused in downstream unintentionally (de facto reuse), and eventually flows into coastal areas. In addition, (micro)plastic spills, microbial contamination and genotoxicity are global concerns in urban areas. Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) mitigate their discharges even though they are not targeted.

Therefore, advanced treatment with a long-life and high-strength ceramic membrane is expected to enable stable and sustainable treatment of WWTP discharges.

Sustainable water management is expected to be possible based on comprehensive research results from direct collaboration between chemical engineer developing ceramic membrane (Turkey), environmental engineers evaluating operational and treatment ability of the membrane filtration (Japan), and toxicologist studying on genotoxicity (Slovakia). The advanced treatment with ceramic membrane treatment enables further treatment of treated wastewater, which can be a source of water used directly or indirectly in urban area and contributes to reducing potential risks.

Ceyda Zeynep KOYUNCU,

TUBITAK Marmara Research Center,
Chief Researcher
Domenico PANGALLO,
Slovak Academy of Sciences, Group Leader
3 Soil eco-technology to recover water storage in disturbed forests (SoilWater) JAPAN
Kazumichi FUJII,
Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Senior Researcher

In terrestrial ecosystems, soils control water storage distribution and quality, they supply water to vegetation as well as to groundwater recharge. Recharge and its quality are crucial for watercourses and consequently sources of water used by human society. Soil ability to hold water depends largely on soil organic matter. Widespread decrease of soil organic matter and soil compaction is responsible for a reduction of soil water holding capacities and consequently for increasing problems with water supply for vegetation and other components of the landscape. There is extensive evidence, that these disturbed soils have large abilities to store carbon if sufficient organic matter is supplied. However, much less is known about how the soil carbon storage corresponds with improvements of soil water and river water supply and its quality. There are several site-specific eco-technologies proposed for reclamation of degraded soils, but the applicability of technology or knowledge is not fully tested especially in some ecological conditions (e.g., Asian tropics). The knowledge gaps and differences limit technology exchange between countries. Main objective and scientific output of this project will be the formulation of indicators for the ability of soils to store water harmonized and shared between European and Japanese researchers; more thorough understanding of the relationship between basic tree properties (leaf traits) and soil water retention and how they are influenced by other soil properties (pH, clay contents); set up practical guidelines how to improve water storage in disturbed forest soils. The project will benefit from a network of common garden experiments in Europe and huge datasets of water budgets and quality including forest stream water quality monitoring in Japan.

Czech Republic

Biology Centre CAS, Director
Peter ŠURDA,
Slovak University of Agriculture, Professor
Werner GERWIN,
Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus, Professor
4 Framework for organisational decision-making process in water reuse for smart cities (SMART-WaterDomain) JAPAN
Kensuke FUKUSHI,
Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, United Nations University,
Academic Programme Officer

The re-use of wastewater (WW) on an agricultural and industrial scale offers a potential solution to address growing water stresses but the effective uptake is often hindered by complex factors ranging from technical capacity through to public acceptance and lack of available data and monitoring tools to justify its implementation. So far, research has mainly focused on efforts to enhance WW treatment technologies across multiple reuse purposes rather than focusing on its diffusion into applications across wider society as part of a smart water management strategy. Despite the usefulness of technological development practices, the research has hindered the development of a broad environment for investment.

The aim of this project therefore is to provide a framework for organisational decision-making processes for companies and utilities to facilitate the uptake of water reuse practices in their operations. The project will test assumptions regarding technical feasibility, legal provisions, political assessments and sustainability benefits for the environment, economy and society. Project’s innovation is to serve as a technology and know-how bridge among the IT, the industry and the community addressing the gap between theoretical technical capabilities and actual application in socio-political and cultural environments.

With pilot studies in multiple countries the project will engage in utility operational framework development with critical stakeholders across European Countries and Japan to produce a digital decision support and monitoring tool that utilises real-time data and climate change projections. This tool will help the implementation of strategies that would increase acceptance of water reuse practices for the local economy and society.

Serena CAUCCI,

United Nations University UNU-FLORES,
Senior Research Associate
University of Wroclaw,
Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences,
Kluvankova TATIANA
Slovakia Academy of Sciences,
Institute of Ecology of Nature Research Center,
Senior researcher
5 Innovative UV-LED applications to drinking water and wastewater treatment systems for sustainable water management in future communities (InLedapp) JAPAN
Kumiko OGUMA,
The University of Tokyo, Associate Professor

This project aims to investigate the applicability of innovative water treatment technologies, with a particular focus on UV light-emitting diode (UV-LED), at water and wastewater treatment facilities. The systems will be operated in the fields including community-based water supplies, wastewater treatment facilities and industrial applications. Japan (University of Tokyo) has expertise in UV-LED system design and applications including field testing, Germany (DVGW) has expertise in validating water treatment systems with high recognition by international academia and industries, and Czech Republic (Masaryk University) has expertise in environmental toxicology to evaluate water safety. These research strengths of each country will be organized in complementary and interdisciplinary manners, which will result in the synergy to develop a future society with sustainable water use and management.


German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas&Water (DVGW),
Senior Manager
Czech Republic
Ludek BLAHA,
Masaryk University, Professor

* Project Leaders are underlined.