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Spain: Water Sustainability Major Water Eco-Efficiency of EU Chemical Industry

Editor: Alexander Stark

Cefic – the EU chemical industry association – presented strong results from a water sustainability project sponsored jointly by the European Commission FP7 programme and industry stakeholders.

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E4Water addresses crucial process industry needs, to overcome bottlenecks and barriers for an integrated and energy efficient water management.
E4Water addresses crucial process industry needs, to overcome bottlenecks and barriers for an integrated and energy efficient water management.
(Source: DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V.)

Madrid/Spain — During a meeting with the European Commission in Madrid, the project outcomes were reported on, for example companies used significantly less energy, less freshwater, and produced less waste water. 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 nine EU countries, and with six pilot sites the total project investment consisted of € 19 million and ran from 2012 to 2016.

“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 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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