The IVL-led EU project Inspirewater, with eleven partners and over 70 million SEK in budget, is now setting out to reduce both water and energy consumption in the process industry. Special focus will be on the steel and chemical industries. In Sweden, the new solutions will be tested at one of Sandvik's own production sites.
– In many different regions water availability is becoming more and more sensitive – even in countries that generally have a good supply of water. A competitive European industry needs to have efficient water management and that is what Inspirewater will contribute to, says Uwe Fortkamp, project coordinator at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
The goal is to reduce water consumption in the steel and chemical industries cases by 40 to 80 percent and energy consumption by at least 20 percent. This will be achieved by using a combination of existing separation processes and new technologies. For example, new membranes for more selective separation of phosphorous will be developed, as well as a new catalyst for anti-fouling which will reduce the use of both chemicals and energy for membrane processes.
Altogether eleven partners from six countries are involved in the project. New solutions from the project will be tested in Spain at steel producer Arcelor Mittal and at the Clariant chemical company. In Sweden tests will be carried out at Sandvik's production facilities in Sandviken. The technology that will be used at the planned pilot plant will, among other things, increase the recycling of metals and phosphorus. It will also save water by creating a closed process loop for the rinsing water used in pickling baths.
– Both water consumption and waste will be reduced; and the waste water that ends up at the treatment plant will be much less contaminated than is the case today, says Louise Staffas, project manager, at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
Inspirewater, Innovative Solutions in the Process Industry for Next Generation Resource Efficient Water Management, is funded by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon 2020. Swedish partners in the project are IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (project manager) and Sandvik. The project will run until 2020.