project

Water reuse in the petrochemical industry

REWATCH

Expert(s):
Luc Palmen MSc MTD, Laura Snip PhD, Frank Oesterholt MSc, Stefan Urioc MEng. MSc

  • Start date
    01 Sep 2016
  • End date
    01 Dec 2019
  • Principal
    European Commission
  • collaborating partners
    CTM (Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic), DOW (DOW Chemical Ibérica, DCI), KWR, Veolia Water Technologies (VWT), WssTP

Freshwater resources are increasingly under stress conditions and there exists a huge mismatch between available water resources and rising water demand in many parts of the world. The petrochemical industry is an important water user. REWATCH aims to validate the economic, environmental and technical feasibility of an innovative treatment system for water reuse in the petrochemical industry.

Water reuse in petrochemical industry

In Europe, water scarcity affects at least 11% of the population and 17% of the territory. Regions with low rainfall and high population densities are prone to water stress same as areas with intense agricultural, industrial or tourism activities. Therefore, protection of water resources is one of the main milestones of environmental protection in Europe. The industrial sector is the second largest consumer of water after agriculture, using 22% of the freshwater volume drawn in the world. Within the industrial sector, the petrochemical industry is a major water user, mainly for cooling and steam production, and generates considerable volumes of wastewater. At European level, this sector alone is responsible for 1,750 million cubic metres of wastewater a year. To face this challenge, the REWATCH project aims to validate the economic, environmental and technical feasibility of an innovative treatment system for water reuse in the petrochemical industry.

Demonstration site of DOW (ChemMed Tarragona, Spain). ChemMed Tarragona is an industrial, logistical, academic and scientific chemical cluster located in the greater Tarragona area in northeast Spain. (Source: Website REWATCH))

The project’s challenge is the implementation, demonstration and modelling of an innovative water reuse scheme for treatment of wastewater streams generated in the petrochemical industry in order to enable reuse of reclaimed wastewater.

The expected results are:

  • Reduction in water abstraction of European petrochemical plants (i.e. steam crackers, etc.)
  • Decrease in wastewater discharge
  • Reduction in total energy consumption related to the water cycle

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.