Solvay SA has won the 2014 Responsible Care Environment Award organised by Cefic. The initiative is part of the SusChem-inspired ‘E4-water’ FP7 project, which aims to save large volumes of potable water and virtually eliminate discharges of salt and liquid waste. Solvay’s contribution is based on three units installed at their site within the Port of Antwerp Chemical Cluster. The first two units are already fully operational and are currently saving the company 33 cubic metres of water every hour.
The first unit involves recycling of wastewater through ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membranes to produce demineralised water that can be used in Solvay’s chemical processes. The second unit can produce this demineralised water from brackish surface water, pumped up from the river and harbour near the plant. Both modules are possible thanks to support from two other companies, Evides Industriewater and Vito nv.
The third module capitalises on the previous two. The aim is to treat an external company’s salted waste water and use the resulting purified water and salt concentrate in Solvay’s manufacturing processes. In this way, the external partner avoids effluent production and Solvay gains additional water savings of 20 cubic metres per hour.
Besides saving water, the project serves as an industrial ‘experimental garden’. Companies are motivated to work symbiotically, and experiments and demonstrations are carried out for external users.
In awarding the prize to the E4Water case study the judges commented: “Water is a key issue for the chemical sector and the Solvay entry is a very good, up-to date project which offers another fine example of industrial ecology.”
Responsible Care® is the global chemical industry’s unique initiative to improve health, environmental performance, enhance security, and to communicate with stakeholders about products and processes.
The chemical industry provides the highest potential for increasing eco-efficiency in industrial water management. The Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry (E4Water) FP7 project addresses crucial process industry needs, to overcome bottlenecks and barriers for an integrated and energy efficient water management.
The main objective of the project is to develop, test and validate new integrated approaches, methodologies and process technologies for a more efficient and sustainable management of water in chemical industry with cross-fertilization possibilities to other industrial sectors.
E4water unites in its consortium large chemical industries, leading European water sector companies and authorities, innovative RTD centres and universities, the European Technology Platforms SusChem and WssTP.
E4Water aims to achieve an expected reduction of 20-40% in water use, 30-70% in wastewater production, 15-40% in energy use and up to 60% direct economic benefits at its industrial case study sites. E4Water builds on state-of-the-art and new basic R&D concepts. Their realization, improvement, utilization and validation, with the compromise of early industrial adaptors, are clearly innovative.
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