“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 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)
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).