The new project E4Water - "Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry" to optimise water use in the European chemical industry has started on May 1st. The E4Water project will develop new integrated methods for more efficient and sustainable industrial water treatment and management.
Water challenges - scarce fresh water resources, stress on aquatic ecosystems and the like - are high on the European and international agenda. Economically and environmentally efficient water management is seen as one of the main strategies for environmental protection in many European countries. Innovative solutions in industrial water use can help further decouple production growth from water use, taking into account local issues.
The chemical industry is a cornerstone of the European economy, converting raw materials into thousands of different products. It is both a major water user and a solution provider for process industry sectors such as mining, industrial biotechnology, health, food, electronics, pulp and paper, and energy. As such, the chemical industry offers significant potential for increasing eco-efficiency in industrial water management throughout the value chain.
The E4Water project will address crucial process industry needs to overcome bottlenecks in and barriers to an integrated and energy-efficient water management. Over a period of four years, 19 international partners, namely industry stakeholders, research partners and end users, will work together to develop new approaches to reduce water use, waste water production and energy use in the chemical industry.
The main objective of E4Water is to develop and test integrated approaches, methods and process technologies. The six industrial case study sites are expected to achieve a reduction of 20-40% in water use, 30-70% in wastewater production, and 15-40% in energy use, as well as an increase of up to 60% in direct economic benefits. In addition to the chemical industry, the project will seek opportunities for cross-fertilization with other industrial sectors.
The project consortium brings together large chemical companies, leading European water sector companies and innovative research and technology development (RTD) centres and universities. The partners are also involved in the Water supply and sanitation Platform (WssTP) and SusChem, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry, and actively collaborate with water authorities in different European countries.