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Reshaping Water Use Using Technology

Reshaping Water Use Using Technology

Published 05-12-22

Submitted by DOW

indoor plumbing and piping valves and monitoring equipment

In support of Dow’s 2025 World-Leading Operations Goal to reduce its freshwater intake intensity by 20% at key water-stressed sites, the site in Böhlen, Germany, had started a collaboration project called “Reshape water use.” This project includes 4 pillars: addressing increased water recycling; digitalization; increasing awareness about the resource of water; and, establishing local collaborations with internal and external stakeholders from industry, agriculture, communities and authorities.

The site expects at least a quarter of its targeted water savings to be achieved in the medium term by treating the rainwater from the site through advanced wetlands and use it as a third freshwater source. The remaining reduction in freshwater demand will be met by developing advanced low-energy and low-chemical treatment processes.

To meet these goals, Dow Böhlen is participating in an EU-funded project entitled AquaSPICE that will trial new treatment technologies for water reuse. In parallel, a digital model of the water network will simulate how changes in the raw water quality or water treatment will impact plants, helping to support decision-making. Through AquaSPICE, a plan for implementing future technologies will be developed to sustainably reduce freshwater withdrawals and stabilize the water supply.

A collaboration for sustainable water use

The AquaSPICE project looks at solutions for digital and circular innovations in the field of water use. In addition, the project also will try to raise awareness about the importance of efficient use of natural resources. As part of a broad European consortium, €11.06 million in EU grants were awarded for the implementation of the AquaSPICE project. This project is aligned with the EU Green Deal and focuses on water scarcity, water security and related aspects. The collaboration consists of 29 partners from industry, academia, water technology and IT companies.

Both Dow’s Böhlen and Terneuzen (Netherlands) sites are participating in the project. Dow's direct partners are the Technical University Aachen (Germany), the University of Ghent (Belgium), the HZ University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), Evides Industriewater (Netherlands) and ENGIE Laborelec (Belgium).

complicated info graphic comparing the current water flow usage at the site vs proposed changes to reduce water usage by 20%

Goals and outcomes

The main goals of AquaSPICE are to reduce water demand, reduce or restore water loss, pre-treat and recycle water and utilize alternative water sources. The project seeks to enhance the internal recycle of various process streams, including cooling tower blowdown and dilution steam blowdown streams; and create a next level of site management by using smart monitoring algorithms and control on raw water, discharge and recycle streams.

At Böhlen, various new treatment technologies will be tested in two on-site pilots. The trails for an improved cooling tower operation are carried out with two small-scale cooling towers in Linkebeek, Belgium. The focus of the trials is to achieve a stable raw water treatment for cooling tower makeup water and input for the demin water plant and the treatment and reuse of blowdown streams from the cooling towers. The use of digital technologies is intended to make water treatment more efficient and to reduce the use of energy and chemicals, which will diminish the environmental impact.

By rethinking and reshaping how water is used in its operations, Dow is taking a more circular approach to how water is used, managed and shared.

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Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth; asset integration and scale; focused innovation and materials science expertise; leading business positions; and environmental, social and governance leadership to achieve profitable growth and help deliver a sustainable future. The Company's ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. Dow's portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated, science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer applications. Dow operates manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 37,800 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $57 billion in 2022. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries.  For more information, please visit or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.

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