Evides finds alternative water sources for the industry
The result of four years of research in E4water

In the context of E4Water (Economically, Ecologically, Efficient and European Water Management), Evides collaborated on two research projects. The first of these was ‘Mild Desalination’, a pilot project conducted at Dow Terneuzen. Wilbert van den Broek, E4water project manager, explains: “Dow needs a lot of water to run its production processes. The chemical company sees it as an important goal to apply more reuse. As part of the E4water project, Evides examined whether it is possible to upgrade local brackish water sources into good quality process water by means of mild desalination. This water would be used both within Dow and for agricultural purposes.”

Use of local water sources
The second pilot involved conducting research at plastic and chemical company INOVYN (formerly Solvic). Here, the goal was to upgrade local water sources into demiwater. “We tested this in two demonstration systems”, says Van den Broek. “The first focused on the reuse of wastewater which came primarily from a cooling tower. The second involved brackish surface water, or dock water, from the Port of Antwerp.”

Different results
After years of research, both projects recently came to a successful conclusion. “At DOW, we tested three different types of water flows: discharge water from the cooling tower of the neighbouring company Elsta, biologically purified wastewater from Dow’s wastewater treatment and run-off rainwater collected in a basin via the ditch system. We analysed these sources using two desalination techniques – Nanofiltration (NF) and Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR) – after applying the same pretreatment. We found that we can use NF to upgrade rainwater or discharge water to a good freshwater quality at a relatively cheap cost, but that the process is not sufficiently reliable for the other water flows. At the same time, EDR was found to be stable for treating Dow’s wastewater and the discharge water from the cooling tower. But the costs are higher because an additional purification step is necessary.” The project at INOVYN also produced a number of clear outcomes. “We found that it wasn’t possible to reuse 100% wastewater in Demo 1. However, we were successful in upgrading 100% dock water in Demo 2. We were also able to upgrade a mix flow of wastewater combined with dock water into a good final product by means of a stable method.”

Next phase
Now that the pilot projects have come to an end, it is time for the next step. Based on the experience gained through E4water, Evides is looking into how best to design the future water supply for Dow Terneuzen, in consultation with Dow. “In Antwerp, Evides is also investigating the commercial feasibility of constructing a full-scale installation that can be used to upgrade locally available water”, says Van den Broek.

Informative projects
After four years of intensive research, Wilbert van den Broek looks back on the projects with a positive feeling. “Working together on the case studies was an enjoyable experience. A lot of knowledge and insight was also exchanged between the nineteen partners of the E4water consortium. It expanded my horizons. Lastly, of course, we made an important step ahead in the area of water reuse. Water scarcity is becoming a bigger and bigger issue around the world, and the knowledge we’ve gained from the E4water projects can be put to good use in finding a solution to this problem.”

You can read the final brochure here: ‘E4Water, Solutions for Practice
More information on the official E4Water website

This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 280756.

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