August 1, 2023
Mikkel A. Thomassen /Smith Innovation, Simone Kongsbak /Smith Innovation

Mikkel A. Thomassen /Smith Innovation, Simone Kongsbak /Smith Innovation

Guided by an innovation strategy from Smith, Aarhus Vand, a Danish water utility company, will develop Marselisborg ReWater, a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant that seeks to not only purify wastewater but also harness energy and nutrients from it on an unprecedented scale.


Since 2005, the city council in Aarhus, Denmark, has been on a mission to optimize its municipal wastewater infrastructure. The objective is to reduce operational costs by consolidating 17 existing wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) into two highly efficient facilities.

Fast forward to today, where the city government and a municipal water utility, Aarhus Vand, have decided on construction of a brand-new facility named Marselisborg ReWater that will meet the needs of a growing city and more. Aarhus Vand envisions this upgraded plant not only as a wastewater treatment facility, but also as a resource and recovery plant that will go beyond conventional purification processes, aiming to extract energy and nutrients from wastewater at an unprecedented scale.


To ensure success in developing Marselisborg ReWater in the coming years, Smith, a Danish consultancy involved in the project, has devised an innovation strategy to guide development. The strategy identifies 15 distinct innovation challenges that must be addressed and solved in the years to come to create the most modern and innovative wastewater treatment plant. This comprehensive approach guarantees that Aarhus Vand will have a wide range of technology and solution options to choose from during the development of Marselisborg ReWater. 

The challenges Smith has identified include:

#1 How can we best utilize the central location in Aarhus and the local potential at nearby Tangkrogen (a recreative area that lies next to the sea) ? 

#2 How can we create a cleaner harbor and Aarhus Bay while also purifying the water from a growing Aarhus? 

#3 How can we support constant changes, flexibility for new requirements, and system export through modularization? 

#4 How can we achieve energy and CO2 neutrality in the water cycle throughout the Marselisborg catchment area? 

#5 How can we avoid odor issues when the facility is in close proximity to urban areas? 

#6 How can we optimally utilize the resources in wastewater? 

#7 How can we manage residual sludge to contribute to the circular economy? 

#8 How can different water qualities be integrated into industrial symbiosis? 

#9 How can we create a fully automated treatment plant where no humans encounter dirty and dangerous materials? 

#10 How can Aarhus Vand increase its revenue through symbiosis and new business areas? 

#11 How can we optimize solutions and collaboration to minimize waste without compromising quality? 

#12 How can Aarhus Vand attract external capital and co-owners? 

#13 How can the Marselisborg Resource Plant strengthen the Danish water cluster internationally, and what regional synergies exist with the agri-food and ICT clusters in the Business Region Aarhus? 

#14 How can the Marselisborg Resource Plant, both as a facility and as a visitor destination, be a “water-forming” place where water and its management are understood and experienced? 

#15 How can we ensure that the Marselisborg Resource Plant becomes a good neighbor in the local area by opening up and sharing information?


In line with the strategy, Aarhus Vand has opened its doors to companies, manufacturers, research institutions, and other stakeholders, inviting them to contribute their products, services, knowledge, and expertise. Through a series of one-on-one meetings in Denmark and the United States, Aarhus Vand aims to forge collaborative partnerships that will help bring their ambitious vision to life and achieve the goal of establishing Marselisborg ReWater as the world’s most resource-efficient Wastewater Treatment Plant.