The project

From waste to resource

Global challenges such as climate change and water scarcity have changed our view of wastewater: Due to its complex blend of chemicals, nutrients and metals it is now considered a valuable source of clean water, nutrients and energy. This has triggered a paradigm shift in the wastewater sector. Wastewater treatment plants are now considered water resource recovery facilities seeking to obtain the most value from wastewater.

Accelerating sustainable water resource recovery

Water resource recovery facilities can produce clean and safe water, recover nutrients and produce energy. Despite the extensive potential of wastewater, only a small portion of total wastewater produces is currently exploited for resource recovery. Increasing the feasibility and efficiency requires new and better technology. The EU-funded project DARROW will provide data-driven solutions to make the most of our wastewater.

Save energy

Reduce Waste

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Contribute to a circular economy

Start date:

1st September 2022

End date:

28th February 2026


3 531 446,25€

8 partners from 4 EU countries:

Spain, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands

Our goals

Leveraging AI tools to make water resource recovery facilities more sustainable. What does this mean exactly?

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Reducing energy consumption by
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Increasing energy generation by
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Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by
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Increasing nitrogen recovery by
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Increasing bio phosphorus recovery by
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Reducing sludge generation by
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Reducing chemical consumption by

Our Approach

DARROW will develop and validate an innovative, modular, and flexible AI system to optimize the performance of wastewater treatment plants by making them more autonomous and more energy efficient.

"It is important that we develop trustworthy and explainable AI. This is why our system will not only offer recommendations [for plant operators] but also a clarification of why such a recommendation has been given."
Ion Irizar
Project coordinator
“We aim to ensure that when our technology is developed the human aspect comes through.”
Klaas Bombeke


The DARROW system will be installed at the Rioolwaterzuivering Tilburg, one of the largest water resource recovery facilities in Southern Netherlands. Each day, the plant purifies the 10 000 m3 wastewater from Tilburg, Udenhout, Berkel-Enschot and Biezenmortel and releases the clean water into the Zandleij river.

The water line in Tilburg is made up of three parallel trains, including primary clarifiers, biological treatment, chemical removal, and secondary clarifiers. The sludge line consists of a Cambi unit for sludge cracking, anaerobic digestion, and Anammox and Phospac units for side-stream treatment. Furthermore, Tilburg WWTP includes the so-called Energy Factory Tilburg, where all sludge of Waterschap De Dommel is digested and treated for biogas production.

With its innovative AI solution, DARROW aims to optimise resource recovery from the secondary treatment and anaerobic digestion processes, while guaranteeing overall plant efficiency.

“We aim to position the Tilburg wastewater treatment plant as a world reference facility in terms of usability of AI based tools.”
Ion Irizar.
Project coordinator