Dow Water Reuse Initiative Earns Project Of The Year

By Chemical Processing Staff

Jul 08, 2016

A European Union funded DEMOWARE initiative project in the water scarce region of Camp de Tarragona, Spain is named one of Environmental Leader’s Projects of the Year 2016. The project uses reverse osmosis membranes from Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS). The Camp de Tarragona petrochemical complex handles 19,000m3 of water per hour and previously used freshwater from the UNESCO-protected Ebro River Basin to power its industrial processes, according to Dow.

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 reportedly 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[1] low-energy membranes, high quality water produced is fed through a pipeline to plants within the complex for alternative industrial use. The plant’s design and Dow’s membranes help to reduce energy demand by producing treated water with 33% less pressure, according to the company.

Dow also uses 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 reportedly frees up more than 200m3 per hour of water rights for the municipality depending on the season. The wastewater generated by the cooling towers has been reduced by up to 49% due to the higher quality of the reused water, according to Dow.  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%.

With continuous adjustments and improvements, the DEMOWARE project aims to serve 90% percent of the complex’s water demand with reclaimed water by 2019, according to Dow. The DEMOWARE consortium is framed under the European Research and Development funded 7th Framework Program, led by CTM (Centre Tecnológic de Manresa), under the FP7-ENV-2013-WATER-INNO-DEMO Call with the Grant Agreement no 619040.

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