Navigation path

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece


   Infocentre

Published: 14 March 2016  
Related category(ies):
Video reports  |  Environment  |  Industrial research  |  Special Collections  |  Research policy  |  Success stories

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Belgium  |  Denmark  |  France  |  Germany  |  Netherlands  |  Spain  |  Sweden  |  Switzerland  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

Saving water from waste in chemical plants

Producing chemicals and plastics indeed requires a lot of fresh water to cool down industrial processes, and this water is not always handy. Take a look on how new technologies can help recycle the water used in chemical plants to make these more environmentally friendly.

Photo of the forklifts in action
Video in MP4 format:  ar  de  el  en  es  fa  fr  hu  it  pt  ru  tr  uk  (111 MB)

Our reporter Denis Loctier visited a Dow Benelux plastics plant on the southern coast of the Netherlands. This seaside plant cannot pump water from the ground: it must buy it from a supplier located dozens of kilometers away, uses it once and then pours it out into the sea.

“We need approximately 20 million cubes annually of fresh water. And that's a bit of a problem here, because the whole area is actually connected to the sea, and all the ground water is brackish or salty, even,” said Niels Groot, water specialist at Dow Benelux.

Salty or dirty water can damage installations, and for now it is cheaper for companies to buy fresh water than to recycle it. A European research project – called E4WATER – wants to change that.

An Evides pilot plant in the Netherlands is using various methods to cleanse water from salt and waste.

“First we try to remove the suspended solids; that’s done by the lamella separator. And then it goes to two different technologies for taking the salts out of the water,” explains Evides water treatment specialist Wilbert van den Broek.

Meanwhile at the VITO institute in Antwerp, Belgium, researchers are testing improved nano-filters and a new membrane technology that could make industrial water recycling much more efficient – and commercially viable.

“With conventional membrane filtration systems you can come up with water recovery of 50% to 70%. With this technology, you can expand the water recovery to 90-95%,” says Peter Cauwenberg, water technology specialist at VITO.

These membrane systems filter the water vapor and leave out the salt. They have a limited lifespan, so making them more efficient could get the industry to recycle more water, save costs, and help the environment.

“There are many advantages for the industry,” says Christina Jungfer, technical microbiologist at DECHEMA and E4WATER project coordinator. “First of all it's more environmentally friendly, because you can save water; it gives you independence from fresh water sources. And through new technologies, you can also save energy. So it's a win-win situation for the industry and for nature.”

So what is the best way to clean industrial water? There is no easy answer. Researchers say any plant can combine cleaning tools and methods in the way that's best suited to its particular production chain.

“Instead of cleaning the water at the end of the industrial process, the idea is to make recycling a part of it. So depending on the process, one facility will require a certain treatment system, another a completely different one,” says Carlos Negro, chemical engineer at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

Belgian company Solvic runs a chlorine plant which receives from chemical companies nearby what can be considered as industrial waste. It tries various new technologies to recycle it into clean water and other usable materials. The stakes are high, says Sabine Thabert, chemical engineer and environmental coordinator for Solvic.

“We say – no, that's not waste, you have to reuse it, because it's very useful for other people. In the near future, water will be very expensive, so it's now that we have to try to find solutions for problems that we'll certainly get tomorrow,” she says.

Project details

  • Project acronym:E4WATER
  • Participants:Germany (Coordinator), Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, UK
  • Project Reference N° 280756
  • Total cost: €17 031 405
  • EU contribution: €10 999 444
  • Duration:May 2012 - April 2016

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

The video on this page was prepared in collaboration with Euronews for the Futuris programme, also available as a podcast.

Project web site

Project information on CORDIS

Contacts
Unit A1 - External & internal communication,
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Tel : +32 2 298 45 40
  Top   Research Information Center
 
Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece