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Covestro Relies on Circulating Process Water

Published: Aug 03,2021

Covestro intends to increase the circular use of process water in the future. To this end, the company is focusing specifically on research and development and is participating in the new RIKovery research project (funding code 02WV1569). Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the project follows on from the successful work in the ReSalt project (funding code 02WV1408A) and continues research into the treatment of process water.

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Globally, water stress will affect approximately 50 percent of the world's population by 2050. That is why Covestro is already taking action today. At the production sites in Krefeld-Uerdingen and Caojing near Shanghai, industrial saline water recovery plants are already in operation that treat and reuse part of the process water from polycarbonate production. Covestro is thus helping to conserve resources.

With the RIKovery project, Covestro now wants to take the next technological step to be able to reuse even more process water than before. During the three-year runtime, the project consortium wants to explore how salt-containing industrial water streams can be used as fully as possible to relieve natural water resources.

"Strengthening cycles is Covestro's declared goal. We are now taking the next step with RIKovery to use process water in a circular way. The further development of our existing technology shows that the direction is right. Now we need to stay on course to use even less water and salt as raw materials for industrial applications in the long term," says Klaus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer at Covestro.

In addition to Covestro, other project partners from industry, plant engineering and research are working together. They also include the RWTH Aachen and TH Cologne universities, the Water Technology Center, the Analytical Research Institute for Non-Target Screening (AFIN-TS GmbH), BWS Anlagenbau und Service and Evonik Industries. Chris Malkomes of project partner K+S AG says: "We are pursuing the common vision of using saline industrial water streams by treating them. In addition, the aim is to obtain the most highly concentrated permeate possible from the tailings waters of the potash industry, which can be integrated into existing production cycles and utilized there."

"Forward-looking, efficient industrial water management will become a key factor for safe industrial production in the future," says Thomas Track of DECHEMA, which is coordinating the project accompanying the BMBF funding initiative. "Water-efficient sites are a real locational advantage with a view to resource conservation, but also with a view to droughts favored by climate change."

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