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Industrial Project of the Year

For the project, commissioned in 2021, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water and wastewater.

Carlsberg Brewery WRP, Denmark

What is it?

A water recyling plant (WRP) at the Carlsberg brewery in Fredericia, Denmark. The WRP makes use of technologies such as ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation processes, to recycle the brewery’s effluent, producing high-quality water that is reused in the brewery’s own processes. A part of Carlsberg’s Zero Water Waste ambition, the project dramatically increased the brewery’s water efficiency and reduced produced waste.

Who is involved?

Niras was responsible for end-to-end development of the project, which was a collaboration effort among several stakeholders. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, together with Carlsberg’s quality departments, was responsible for assuring that beverages meet consumer’s safety and product quality requirements. Technology suppliers include Ultraaqua, which supplied the advanced oxidation process, and Grundfos, which supplied pumps.

What makes it special?

The project has turned Carlsberg’s Fredericia facility into what it claims is the world’s most water and waste efficient brewery, accomplishing a 50% reduction in water consumption and meaning just 1.4 litres of water is required per litre of beer produced. Additionally, the RO plant, which based upon the closed circuit reverse osmosis concept, reaches 90% recovery resulting in a 90% reduction in wastewater discharge. Excess produced sludge is used as fertiliser for organic farming.

The WRP has also proven to be an extremely energy efficient solution, producing an energy surplus that corresponds to four times the plant’s own energy needs and fueling 10% of the entire brewery’s energy demand. This is possible thanks to the upflow anaerobic sludge bed reactor that converts approximately 85% of COD into biogas.


This project offers a blueprint for circular water and waste management across the Carlsberg group and the beverage industry. As climate challenges mount, the use of recycled water in direct contact with process equipment and packaging material for the ‘last rinse’ washing step before packaging is used could prove crucial towards reducing the industry’s water footprint.


Waverly Landfill leachate, USA

What is it?

A 120,000GPD (450m3/d) evaporation solution for reverse osmosis (RO) concentrate at the Waverly landfill site in Virginia, US. The existing water resource recovery facility (WRRF) first processes the landfill leachate through biological and membrane treatment (ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis) followed by ion exchange. This project addresses the challenges of RO concentrate waste stream treatment and disposal.

Who was involved?

The project was delivered under a nine-month design-build-operate contract by Heartland Water Technology, the manufacturer and supplier of the evaporation system. After nine months, the client WM took charge of the system’s operation as part of its responsibilities for the WRRF.

What makes it special?

The evaporation solution has massively decreased the need to treat and dispose of the RO reject off-site, reducing the carbon footprint of the landfill by avoiding the emission of 5,500 metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent to approximately 12,000 barrels of oil per year. Additionally, the RO concentrate evaporation facility is fuelled by biogas produced in the landfill, helping to decrease the facility’s overall energy consumption.

The evaporation facility was successful at dealing with the challenges of RO reject treatment such as high organics, chlorides, and a strong propensity to scaling while reducing 82% of the RO concentrate volume. The project has also allowed a 73% decrease of off-site trucking of reject , contributing further to a significant reduction in operational costs.


The large and complex project entailed a cross-organisational effort among local, state, and federal regulatory agencies, including the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which was crucial for the successful commissioning and operation of the plant. The close on-going and collaborative relationship between client and technology provider was also beneficial to achieving WM’s sustainability goals and to successfully completing the design-build process in under a year.