Tuesday, 18 October 2016

E4Water report demonstrates EU Chemical Industry's water eco-efficiency

Today (18 October 2016), the results of the 'SusChem inspired' E4Water project - a ground-breaking water sustainability initiative - were presented by Cefic during a joint task force meeting with the European Commission in Madrid. The project, which was sponsored jointly by the European Commission under the FP7 Research Framework programme and industry stakeholders, produced real-world outcomes in industrial contexts where companies used less energy, less freshwater, and produced less waste water.

Designed to give a major boost to the water efficiency of the European chemical industry, the E4Water project aimed to demonstrate the benefits of integrated, cost and energy efficient water management. Including 19 partners across nine EU countries, and with six pilot sites the total project investment was € 19 million and the project 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.”

Pilot examples
Six pilot cases were conducted to demonstrate what is possible if the recommendations from this project are taken up by other industry stakeholders and integrated into their processes. The potential benefits shown in the pilot studies included:
  • 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)
More information on the project and its outcomes can be found in the E4Water brochure with a more detailed report available on the project's website.

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.

The ‘Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry’ (E4Water) project addressed crucial process industry needs to overcome bottlenecks and barriers for an integrated and energy efficient water management. The main objective was to enable more efficient and sustainable management of water in chemical industry sector and identify possibilities to share the models developed with other industrial sectors.

The E4Water project consortium united large chemical industries, leading European water sector companies and innovative RTD centres and universities active in the area of water management with and collaborators from national and regional water authorities. The project received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

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