07/01/2022 | Process Innovation
Water is not only vital to sustain life, it is the most fundamental commodity driving every step of almost all manufacturing and production processes, a key ingredient in the creation of so much we take for granted. Industry accounts for around 40 per cent of total water abstractions, according to Eurostat, whether it's deionised for the electronics and pharmaceutical sectors, or softened for boiler feed applications, water is a driving necessity.
More sobering is the fact that most industries generate significant amounts of wastewater, often polluted with waste by-products used during the process and many global companies have manufacturing facilities operating in water scarce parts of the world, with over two thirds of companies reporting exposure to water risks.
All of which is why efficient industrial water management is so important as a means of providing industry with a wide range of economic and strategic advantages, driven by the sort of new technologies, upcoming solutions and innovations visitors will find in abundance at ACHEMA. Agriculture uses 70 per cent of the world's freshwater. In Europe alone, the sector requires 44 per cent of freshwater resources, due to its intense use for irrigation, fertilisers and pesticides, along with crop cooling.
An increase in environmental sensitivity and modern legislative restrictions means that many companies are operating wastewater treatment plants. The challenges of such systems depend strongly on the water quality, according to Japan's Kurita Water Industries which develops differentiated products and solutions to improve water quality in advance to wastewater removal.
Their varied technologies carefully adapt to the needs of each treatment plant through the optimisation and improvement of the water quality while reducing operating costs and, of course, keeping discharges to a minimum level as a main target of their sustainability commitment.
In the US, ClearWater, a company focused on engineered products for both municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations has expanded its partnership with WEMCO in Northern Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C. And the water technology giant DuPont Water Solutions has revitalised its program of webinars and specialist classes aimed at those working in the life sciences, food and beverage, chemical processing and municipal water supply and wastewater treatment sectors. The content includes a series of technology deep-dives that are led by water industry experts on the fundamentals of key water treatment system components, including reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membranes, ion exchange resins and adsorbents, ultrafiltration membranes and Closed Circuit Reverse Osmosis (CCRO) systems.
The company estimates that these are currently used by more than 30,000 water professionals worldwide. Only a short while ago, German expertise was put to excellent use in Asia with the Show Case Plant India project, which ensured vital supplies could be reused by adapting wastewater treatment plants to local conditions in a country where nearly every second person suffers from water shortage and many wastewater treatment plants do not purify sufficiently.
The project involved a collaboration involving the likes of aqua and waste International of Hanover, the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology and ENEXIO Water Technologies.
In May 2022, a team from Nanostone Water hosted the governor of a Saudi Government Corporation responsible for the desalination of seawater at their booth at the International Specialty Conference on Innovation Driven Desalination in Jeddah where they explained the benefits of their Ceramic solution and discussed a collaboration on the feasibility study for Oman Barka plant. And consider Krohne of Duisburg, Germany, whose persistent rollout of products from smart flow control instruments to radar-level transmitters have kept their dedicated industry division at the forefront of innovation after more than 50 years. Similar can be said of Eurowater who recently launched technology to monitor and register the condition of reverse osmosis systems with integrated data logging such as real-time collection of selected process parameters such as conductivity, flow and pressure.
Of course, the use of technology in water matters is not new. EnviroChemie, for example, used a digital twin to decrease the amount of water used to clean industrial containers at a German cosmetics company and Endress+Hauser was commissioned to digitalise the drinking water system of a town near Frankfurt.
One globally active innovator is Veolia Water Technologies. Fresh on the heels of the Asia Pacific launch of its barrel integrated plug-and-play reverse osmosis technology and its PerFORM WATER 2030 project in italy, it accepted a commission to expand and modernise the water treatment of a paper mill in Switzerland for Model Group of Weinfelden.
All equipment and components used in this project are from the Veolia Water Technologies portfolio and are both commissioned and subsequently fully supported by experienced service personnel. Water chemicals are tailored to Veolia's technologies to ensure highperformance and efficient operation. Volker Alps, Managing Director Sales, explained innovative key technologies will be used which “represent a ground-breaking reference for the wastewater treatment of paper mills. We can contribute our entire experience from planning to plant service and thus offer the Model Group reliable quality from a single source".
The technologies should not only be efficient, the company said, but also “score points in terms of environmental and climate protection”. The biogas produced in the Biobed process is fed back into the paper production process as energy, and the amount of sludge is also considerably reduced with this special process. This reduces Model Group's consumption of primary energy and thus also reduces its CO2 footprint.
"Veolia has extensive expertise within the treatment of industrial wastewater. Many of Veolia's competitors are not as broadly positioned," said Philipp Lenhard, Manager Maintenance TPW from Model Group. "We know our wastewater treatment plant very well and are aware of its special features. Despite our knowledge, we have chosen to use Veolia's know-how with all its specialists. Our goal is to operate a stable wastewater treatment plant economically under optimal operating conditions. Together with an experienced plant supplier, we are most likely to achieve the path to an economically operated wastewater treatment plant." The international project team of Veolia Water Technologies will supervise and monitor the commissioning of the biological process stages in the first year. Additional safety and stability will be provided by the integration of the digital service platform Hubgrade, via which all technical processes, can be transparently displayed, controlled and optimized regardless of time and location.
On a broader level, as we reported last year, following a two-year spell at the end of the last decade, Europe is now learning the hard way what well-known water stress regions in Asia, Southern Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America and Australia have known for a long time: the importance of forward-looking, efficient industrial water management.
“Water is a key issue at our production sites worldwide. Efficient water management is one pillar of our license to operate and sustainable competitiveness,” Dr. Christoph Blöcher, Head of CO/H₂/Infrastructure Process Technology at Covestro Deutschland AG pointed out in summary. And Elmar Billenkamp, Head of Design and Sales at EnviroChemie GmbH observed: “Integrated and intelligent industrial water management solutions offer outstanding benefits for stable production and economic efficiency. They support the responsible use of water, energy and valuable resources.”
Innovation is everywhere in this sector. One only has to look at Denmark. The fact that its water supply is almost entirely based on groundwater has led to the development of the most innovative technologies for comprehensive groundwater mapping and protection programmes in the world.
60486 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 69 7564-100