A European Union-funded, DEMOWARE initiative project in the water scarce region of Camp de Tarragona, Spain, was named one of Environmental Leader’s Projects of the Year 2016. The project uses advanced reverse osmosis membranes from Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company.
The Camp de Tarragona petrochemical complex and surrounding municipalities face competing water demands across the agricultural, industrial and residential markets. The complex handles 19,000 m3 of water per hour and previously used freshwater from the UNESCO-protected Ebro River Basin to power its industrial processes.
The Camp de Tarragona Advanced Water Reclamation Plant, operated by Veolia Environnement S.A., Aguas Industriales de Tarragona S.A. (AITASA) and the government-owned Catalan water agency, L’Agència Catalana de l’Aigua (ACA), treats wastewater from the Spanish cities of Salou, Tarragona and Vilaseca for reuse in the complex’s industrial operations. Dow’s reverse osmosis water treatment solutions help reduce the strain on limited, local freshwater resources. Through a combination of DOW FILMTEC BW30XFR-400/34i extra fouling resistant membranes and DOW FILMTEC LE-440i low-energy membranes, the high quality water produced is fed through a pipeline to various plants within the complex for alternative industrial use. The plant’s design and Dow’s low-energy membranes help to reduce energy demand by producing treated water with 33% less pressure.
“Economic and population growth is driving increasing demand for water resources,” said Snehal Desai, global business director of DW&PS. “Dow’s portfolio of sustainable water treatment solutions helps our customers improve water efficiency and get the most out of every drop of water in a circular economy where resources are reused and reclaimed from waste, thereby reducing demand on new supply.”
The project is a milestone in the improvement of water reuse in the European industrial sector efficiency and municipal processes. Out of approximately 30 projects funded by the European Union’s DEMOWARE initiative, a program to demonstrate innovations that help build a competitive and innovative European water reuse sector, this is the only project related to industrial water reuse.
Dow is also a user of the treated wastewater for its cooling tower operations. The ethylene cracker cooling tower at Dow’s Tarragona site now uses up to 40% reclaimed water and has reduced its use of chemicals for water treatment by 23%. This frees up more than 200 m3 per hour of water rights for the municipality depending on the season. In addition, the wastewater generated by the cooling towers has been reduced by up to 49% due to the higher quality of the reused water. These improvements are contributing to Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals to reduce its freshwater intake intensity at key water stressed sites and its waste intensity footprint by 20%.
By reclaiming municipal wastewater for industrial purposes, the Camp de Tarragona petrochemical complex is able to minimize water stress and preserve freshwater to meet municipal, tourism and agricultural demands. With continuous adjustments and improvements, the project targets to serve 90% of the complex’s water demand with reclaimed water by 2019.
The DEMOWARE consortium is framed under the European Research and Development funded 7th Framework Program, led by Centre Tecnológic de Manresa (CTM) under the FP7-ENV-2013-WATER-INNO-DEMO call with the grant agreement No. 619040.
Source: G&S Business Communications