What is the value of Industrial Water?


At the end of November SusChem and the European Water Technology Platform (WssTP) joined forces to present ‘The Value of Industry Water’ at Dechema’s Industrial Water 2018 conference in Frankfurt. The conference was attended by around 150 participants, mostly from Europe but with international representations from China, India, South America and the US, all active and interested in Industry Water Innovation. The conference was supported by SusChem, WssTP and SPIRE.

Water is essential for life. As the world’s population grows and the effects of climate change become apparent the demand for water will increase. And too many people around the world still do not hav access to clean water or adequate sanitation. The Industrial Water 2018 conference on 27-29 November sought to highlight today's challenges in industrial water management and discuss the new strategies, developments and technologies that can make industrial water use more efficient.

The Industrial Water conference and exhibition is a biennial platform that addresses all relevant topics along the industrial water value chains: from raw water to waste water treatment; from sensors to digitisation in industrial water management; from alternative water resources to zero liquid discharge and integrated management.

The contribution from SusChem and WssTP was presented by Henk Pool from Cefic during the Digitalisation in Industrial Water Management session of the conference on the morning of 28 November.

Multiple waters
The paper, jointly authored with Durk Krol and Andrea Rubini from WssTP, was entitled ‘The Value of Industry Water: Integrated multiple waters, Digitally Connected and Smartly Managed’ and focused on the new ‘Multiple Waters’ Governance model and how Digital Waters enable a totally different, bottom-up and multi-stakeholder approach.

The basis for the paper stems from joint workshops organised by SusChem and WssTP to identify critical innovations in the context of an Industry Water transition from Single Use to Integrated Management.

The concept of Multiple Waters entails the employment of different water sources and qualities (such as fresh ground and surface water, rainwater, brackish water, saline water, brines, grey water, black water, recycled water) for various purposes by multiple users. The Multiple Waters concept targets the right water for the right purpose to the right users in a synergetic combination of centralised and decentralised water treatment. Water use can then be optimised based on the circularity principle for water such as cascading, reuse or recycling, while enacting new economic mechanisms and models based on the true value of water.

Value drives innovation
Considering Industrial Water management and the true Value of Water leads to the identification of industry innovation needs, which are driven by four factors:

1. Sensor Networks: Sensor development provides a unique opportunity for enhancing the Value of Water. Advanced sensor development is required to ensure continuous understanding and control of water quality. Handling of dynamic water systems requires advanced sensors. Full implementation, reliable operation costs and maintenance are important considerations.

2. Big Data: Identifying the Value of Water system in terms of the data that it generates and creates is central to its economic value. The creation of a resilient basis for cyber security and privacy legislation is necessary, as no holistic overview currently exists in the sector. Links between data silos and pockets of data should be established and prioritised.

3. Modelling and Analysis: Many models for enhancing water management exist in academia or within other research organisations. However, these methodologies need to be brought into context before moving to the next (pilot) phase. It is necessary to identify models and tailor them to the requirements of users in order to develop more efficient water systems while observing the interactions and implications.

4. Smart Governance: Smart governance models vary from region to region. The selection process for an appropriate governance design requires extensive consideration. Education and communication are crucial for its successful understanding and implementation.

The presentation addressed the above factors in detail and built connections between them.

“A balanced combination of innovation across all the factors will enhance the true Value of Water and therefore drive the industry water transition from single use to integrated management”, Henk Pool concluded.

Water efficiency
On 30 November an additional workshop on increasing water and energy efficiency in process industry took place looking at relevant tools, technologies and concepts. The workshop was jointly organised by the EU-funded Horizon 2020 projects WaterWatt and INSPIREWATER – a SPIRE project. The workshop included a number of case studies from the steel and the chemical industry regarding water and energy efficiency measures. Participants were also introduced to the recently developed online tool for evaluating energy efficiency (E3 Platform) and got the opportunity to test the tool during the workshop.