Water Efficiency European Chemical Industry to Cut Its Water Bill

Editor: Dominik Stephan

A new report shows major water eco-efficiency of EU chemical industry: European chemical industry association Cefic presented results from a ground-breaking water sustainability project which was sponsored jointly between the European Commission FP7 programme and industry stakeholders.

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(Source: Public Domain / CC0 )

Brussels/Belgium – Designed to give a major boost to the water efficiency of the European chemical industry, E4Water aims for an integrated, cost and energy efficient water management. Including 19 partners across 9 EU countries, and with 6 pilot sites the total project investment consisted of 19m Euro and ran from 2012 to 2016. During a joint task force meeting with the European Commission which took place today in Madrid, the results of the project outcomes were reported on, for example companies used less energy, less freshwater, and produced less waste water.

“Although the European chemical industry is a standard-bearer for eco-friendly measures like cutting greenhouse gas and increasing energy efficiency, this project identifies important new potential for increased water efficiency. This not only helps safeguard the planet by saving water and energy but also costs for industry”, said William Garcia, Cefic Executive Director. “We hope to see the model this project demonstrates scaled up in other industries to make important gains for the climate.”

Six pilot cases were conducted as test cases to show what can be possible if the recommendations from this project are taken up by other industry stakeholders and integrated into their processes. The potential benefits shown are:

  • Reduction of 3 million m3 of freshwater per year
  • Reduction of 2.5 million m3 of produced wastewater per year
  • Reduced wastewater discharge by 4 million m3 per year
  • Reduced resource use through more efficient processes
  • 20% less energy used by implementing low energy technology
  • A drop in operating expenditure of 30% for every m3 of saved freshwater/year
  • Eliminating need for incineration (5,000 tonnes/annum/plant)

Water efficiency is a huge part of tackling climate change. The EU chemical industry – Europe’s fifth largest manufacturing sector – relies on water for many industrial processes. For example, processing, washing, heating, cooling and transporting products. To cut the amount of water required for these processes, the E4 Water project applied new research and development concepts to boost its eco-efficiency and sustainability.

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