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More about the company Wasser 3.0

Wasser 3.0 GmbH is a non-profit company from Karlsruhe, founded in May 2020, which uses green chemistry, environmental technology, and foresight to develop new ways of protecting the environment and health through water purification. The focus is on modular solutions for the cost-efficient and resource-saving removal of microplastics and micropollutants from water.

This includes process-integrated microplastic detection methods and the development of circular processes and value chains for plastics and water (municipal and industrial wastewater, process water, seawater).

Considering the extent of global water pollution with microplastics, Wasser 3.0 takes a systemic and social approach: innovative water treatment goes hand-in-hand with application-oriented basic research and transformative education and awareness-raising initiatives on the topics of microplastics and wastewater. Wasser 3.0 combines GreenTech and social business - for water without microplastics and micropollutants.

How it all began: Numerous awards as a research project

Wasser 3.0 was initiated as a university research project and developed between 2012 and 2018 by junior professor Dr. Katrin Schuhen. Various prizes, including the GreenTech Award, the environmental prize of the Hans-Raab Foundation, the environmental prize of the state of Rheinland-Pfalz and the Partslife environmental prize line the way. In addition, Wasser 3.0 was recognized as an innovative place in the "land of ideas".

Full steam ahead

Just a few months after Wasser 3.0 gGmbH was founded, we recorded our first major successes in the use of our Wasser 3.0 PE-X® process in municipal sewage treatment plants, for industrial process water and in seawater. In addition to winning the Next Economy Award from the German Sustainability Award Foundation, the German Innovation Award in Gold, the AquaTech Innovation Award, the Planet Hero Award, we are also an SIT Alumni of the EIB Institute and were winners of the Get in the Ring-Impact Berlin competition, in the Impact final of Get in the Ring in The Hague and were recognized as a top innovator in the Global Plastics Innovation Network of the World Economic Forum.

Furthermore, together with our cooperation partner abcr GmbH from Karlsruhe, we won the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Prize 2022. With the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label award for our Wasser 3.0 PE-X® process, we are one of the #1000Solutions that have been certified and awarded by the Solar Impulse Foundation - founded by Bertrand Piccard.

From the founding to today: attempting a wrap-up


  • May 2020Founding of Wasser 3.0 gGmbH

    Dr. Katrin Schuhen founds Wasser 3.0 gGmbH in May 2020. Based on the results of the research projects on water without microplastics and micropollutants, which she developed with her team while working as a junior professor for organic and ecological chemistry (2012-2018), she dared to jump into the non-profit startup scene. Since then, a growing team of chemists, environmental scientists, engineers, and educational experts have been working in the areas of innovation transfer, research, education, and communication.
  • June 2020Strategy implementation

    With detect | remove | reuse, Wasser 3.0 gGmbH establishes the strategic orientation of the company in the field of wastewater and water purification. Since then, the hashtag #detectremovereuse has been a communication and recognition feature in social media.
  • July 2020Beginning of the first long-term studies

    Already in the first year of foundation, the scientists are concentrating on data collection and data transparency. Long-term studies to measure microplastic pollution in municipal and industrial wastewater began in July and are offered as a service as well as for research-related measures
  • December 2020Get in the Ring Impact Berlin

    Already within the first year of founding, the team takes part in many relevant start-up competitions. In December 2020, Wasser 3.0 was the first non-profit startup to win at Get in the Ring Impact Berlin.
  • January 2021Commissioning of the first plants in the industrial sector

    Six months after it was founded, the first plant for removing microplastics from industrial wastewater is put into operation. With the ability to respond to different load scenarios in a modular and adaptive manner in either batch or continuous operation, providing solutions for highly complex wastewater mixtures, Wasser 3.0 makes PE-X® an innovation and impact accelerator for water without microplastics and micropollutants.
  • January 2021Wasser 3.0 PE-X® receives the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label

    Since January 2021, the Wasser 3.0 PE-X® process has carried the coveted Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label. With this, the entire procedure along with the strategy detect | remove | reuse is highlighted and recognized as a forward-looking technology. Wasser 3.0 is one of the first 1000 solutions to be certified.
  • May 2021German Innovation Awards

    2021 is the year of awards for Wasser 3.0. Certification with the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label is the first step, followed in May by the German Innovation Award in gold.
  • October 2021SIT alumni of the EIB Institute

    By participating in the Social Innovation Tournaments (SIT) and reaching the top 15, Wasser 3.0 is allowed to travel to Lisbon for the final pitch. Although others won the prizes, Wasser 3.0 has been part of the SIT Alumni family ever since.
  • October 2021Planet Hero Awards

    In October 2021, the Planet Hero Award of the Zurich Group Germany is presented for the first time and Wasser 3.0 is among the first winners. This is followed by close cooperation with the Zurich Group Germany and support in the field of education for Wasser 3.0 gGmbH.
  • November 2021Aqua Tech Innovation Awards

    With the Aqua Tech Innovation Award, Wasser 3.0 receives another award. For the first time, the young start-up is asserting itself in the context of large companies and is able to win the coveted prize in the "Green Chemistry for Water" category.
  • December 2021Next Economy Award of the German Sustainability Award Foundation

    The year 2021 ends as it began. Wasser 3.0 takes home a Next Economy Award. This national-level award once again shows that the young start-up, despite its orientation as a non-profit company, has valid and resilient business concepts that can also stand up to any other start-up.
  • January 2022Start of the long-term project at the municipal sewage treatment plant in Landau

    The year starts with the long-term project at the sewage treatment plant in Landau. In addition to micropollutants, microplastics will also be analyzed within 12 months. Data collection and evaluation are an essential part of this, along with a comparative and collaborative study on the various removal technologies.
  • March 2022New plants in the industrial sector

    After the successful laboratory and technical center tests, the first industrial plants are designed, built and put into operation by companies. In addition to a rental model, complete systems are also included in the portfolio.
  • May 2022Digital teaching/learning platform WASoMI goes online

    Funded by the German Postcode Lottery, Wasser 3.0 will go live within twelve months with the new digital teaching/learning platform WASoMI (= WASser ohne MIkroplastik, www.wasomi.de).
  • September 2022The Board of Directors of EW Landau decides to secure the site for Wasser 3.0

    With the unanimous decision by the board of directors of the Waste Disposal and Public Utilities (EWL) in Landau, Wasser 3.0 gGmbH is secured a permanent site at the sewage treatment plant.
  • October 2022Advances in microplastic detection

    After method for fast, cost-effective and comparable microplastic detection in wastewater was developed and published in 2021, the method could be tested on sewage treatment plant wastewater over a period of ten months.
  • November 2022Wasser 3.0 wins the Baden-Württemberg State Innovation Prize together with abcr GmbH

    For the first time in the history of the Baden-Württemberg State Innovation Award, the award goes to a non-profit company with Wasser 3.0.
  • December 2022Sustainability assessment of the further wastewater treatment

    For the first time, three processes are being investigated in parallel in a long-term study on microplastics and micropollutants. In addition to the standard treatment using granulated activated carbon, an oxidation process (AOP) and Wasser 3.0 PE-X® are also tested.
  • January 2023Start of the EU project REMEDIES

    At the beginning of 2023, the REMEDIES project begins with a kick-off meeting in Koper, Slovenia. Within a project consortium of over 20 partners, Wasser 3.0 is developing solutions for water without microplastics for the sewage treatment plant on Mykonos (Greece).
  • February 2023Long-term study ended

    In the journal MDPI Water, the study team around Dr. Katrin Schuhen, Dennis Schober and Dr. Michael Sturm publish the results open-access.

Numbers, data, facts, & transparency

Instead of marketing, we rely on communication. Not b2b, b2g or b2c, but h2h - human to human. In our scientific publications we cover our research in depth. We aim to describe the scientific facts and data correctly and for the scientific community. These scientifically sound facts are presented in a way that is suitable for everyday use in our information and educational materials, our videos and in press articles. Our blog for water without microplastics and micropollutants and our social media channels provides insights into our projects and our thoughts and actions as a GreenTech company and sustainability entrepreneur and communicates the latest developments on water without microplastics.

On our way to water without microplastics and micropollutants, we continue to rely on networks and exchanges with various stakeholders from science, business, politics, and society. Through dialogue and the will to act, we make active contributions to a wide variety of transformation processes for a more sustainable future.