Solidification of Leachate Concentration

This Innovation Exchange challenge, delivered by Innovate UK KTN through the Global Alliance Africa project, is supporting DCLM (operated by Veolia) to find economically viable ways to solidify the concentrate of their effluent treatment plant. They are seeking solutions utilising innovative solidification agents that can deal with large and increasing volumes of concentrate.


Challenge opens


Challenge closes



Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to pitch their solution to Veolia. The winning applicant, as selected by Veolia, will get the opportunity to collaborate with them on a trial project. Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding is available to the successful finalist/s for this collaboration.

The Challenge

DCLM (operated by Veolia) would like to find more environmentally friendly and economically viable ways to solidify the concentrate of their effluent treatment plant. They are seeking solutions utilising innovative solidification agents that can deal with large and increasing volumes of concentrate. Solutions are invited from, but not limited to, the following sectors:

  • Waste management
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Environmental services
  • Manufacturing
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Industrial biology

For full details on the challenges and application process please attend the Information Session/Q&A on 20th June 2023. Please register here

DCLM Background

Dolphin Coast Landfill Management (operated by Veolia) owns and runs a Hazardous landfill site in the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, which is licensed by the National Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DFFE). Their global operational expertise across industrial hazardous and non-hazardous wastes enables them to develop solutions that are tailored to identify and recover additional resources, increase recycling and avoid disposal costs.

Their experts work from source to final treatment, ensuring safety and reliability at every step, using innovative digital systems to provide complete waste traceability, enhanced reporting and an improved environmental footprint. DCLM prides itself on the development of long-term customer partnerships, tailoring expertise and resources to provide the best possible solution to their specific requirements. 

In a world facing resource scarcity and climate change, DCLM provides its customers, industrial companies and local authorities, with solutions aimed at ensuring a more sustainable and responsible development. DCLM's mission is evident in Our Purpose and Positioning, ‘Resourcing the World’.

Total Land Area of 140.6 hectares, of which, 49.2 hectares of this is permitted for H:H /Class A landfilling. Total Airspace of up to 20 million m3, to be divided into 13 separate cells. As of October 2014, cell 1 with an airspace of 700 000 cubic meters has been fully exploited and temporarily capped. Cell 2: 1.3000.000 m3 / Temporarily capped in February 2022. Cell 3: 1.550.000 m3 (approx) / Commissioned in January 2022. 

DCLM operates the landfill according to the highest international waste management standards, by applying the latest innovation in landfill engineering and science. 

Challenge Background

DCLM operates a hazardous waste landfill site and one of the challenges of landfill sites is the production of leachate. Leachate is produced when water percolates through the waste disposal site, accumulating the contaminants, which creates the highly concentrated hazardous liquid. The leachate must be effectively treated by concentration and solidification, and accommodate larger volume increases as the landfill capacity increases. 

DCLM are seeking practical, feasible, and economically viable ways to solidify the concentrated leachate from the effluent treatment plant, comprising approx. 8750m3 per annum. These solutions should aim to solidify the concentrate utilising innovative solidification agents (alternatives to the current agents: ash and lime) in an environmentally friendly way. The goal is to effectively block any toxins from causing ground contamination.

DCLM will provide current leachate analysis for technical specs (requiring NDA). Following solidification, innovative methods of concentrate valorisation would be particularly welcome for industry use. Using any by-products from alternate industries will produce higher value solutions in terms of business responsibility.

The current treatment process removes impurities and suspended solids, thereby separating the leachate into a permeate stream and a concentrate which contains the hazardous impurities removed, as per the diagram below.

The concentrate composition is variable depending on the waste streams involved. However, the salinity remains about the same. Samples, full spectrum analysis and further information on the treatment process are available upon request (requires NDA agreement).

Separation processes are of interest if they can generate industrial value. A Circular Economy perspective would be most valuable as the ability to reuse, repurpose or recycle into another value change would create a genuine difference. The game changing waste industry innovation would be the creation of a fraction or process ingredient that reduces reliance on natural resources.

The focus of this challenge is to solidify the concentrate. However, solutions involving water treatment to make the extracted water (from Treatment Plant to sewerage system) viable as drinking water would also be considered alongside the primary intervention. 

Current Treatment Process


Rewards & Benefits

  • Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding (Subject to T&C)
  • Opportunity to pitch your solution to Veolia
  • Collaboration/partnership with DCLM/Veolia
  • Technical support and Mentorship from DCLM/Veolia team
  • Mentorship programme facilitated by KTN
    Sector expertise from KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot 
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Application support for any Innovate UK or similar competitions that are relevant

Functional Requirements

The identified solution must/should address the following:

  • Deal with 40m3 of concentrate per working day.
  • Be applicable on DCLM landfill site
  • Be able to be integrated with DCLM’s current effluent treatment plant
  • Be practical for the South African environment
  • Solution must be applicable in modular format, so it may be scaled progressively
  • Please detail any new infrastructure requirements for this solution

Technical Requirements

  • Solutions must be able to solidify the concentrate in 1 to 2 days (high priority)
  • Solution must be able to deal with hazardous materials
  • Solution must be sustainable with the intent to reduce carbon emissions. 
  • Solution to be non exothermic. 
  • Byproducts from alternative industries are desirable
  • Solutions involving valorisation for industrial use are desirable

[A site visit can be arranged upon request] 

Operating Conditions

  • Solutions to be able to be used or operated between Monday and Friday 7am to 3.30pm.  
  • Solution to be implemented in wet and dry weather conditions. 
  • Solution must not be odorous.
  • Solution should operate in normal temperatures and light levels

Deployment Timescale

  • 18 May 2023 - Competition Launch 
  • 20 Jun 2023 – Information session/Q&A (TBC)
  • 14 Jul 2023 - Deadline for applications
  • Jul 2023 - Selection and notification of finalists
  • Aug 2023 - Pitch day and Selection of Winner
  • Aug 2023 – Collaboration Discussions
  • Sep 2023 – Pilot programme activated

Cost Requirement & Market Opportunity

  • Cost reduction on the current process is essential (vs current use of ash or lime)
  • The solution must be able to treat the required volume and be able to expand as the feed capacity expands.
  • Solutions for the sale or re-use of the concentrate are desirable 
  • Opportunity to be expanded to other waste material and landfill sites. 
  • Winning solution providers will become long-term partners, gaining access to DCLM/Veolia’s facilities.
  • For Circular Economy interventions, please include costings for the full lifespan of treatment

Out of Scope

Proposed solutions will not be viable if they cannot deal with common scenarios including:

  • Unable to deal with variability of composition
  • Unable to deal with variable rates of production

Eligibility & Assessment Criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • Africa-based entrants, UK-based entrants and those from RoW are invited to apply

Due Diligence requirements for seed funding:

  • Applicants must ensure that receiving the £25k seed funding will not exceed the £315,000* state aid threshold under UK Minimal Financial Assistance regulations over the current and last 2 fiscal years [or *200,000 euros for applicants affected by EC de minimis regulations]
  • Further information will be required later relating to company policies, financial history and recent grant funding received

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • Price/quality ratio
  • Suitability for the South African Market

IP & Potential Commercial Route

  • Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Any commercial deployment of a transferred solution or newly developed solution, through licensing, joint venture, partnership or direct investment, will be subject to the commercial agreement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Where necessary, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed to uphold confidentiality in the engagement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger. (This would be expected to be after company selection, it is suggested that details of IP be not disclosed, Focus on the outcomes of the technology proposed).
  • KTN does not take any share of IP ownership or enter into commercial ventures through the iX programme.