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    Engineering sustainable water treatment for wastewater recycling

    products-servicesEnviroChemie GmbH
    August 17th 2023

    EnviroChemie can implement engineering solutions for using water more sustainably in production, with greater emphasis on water reuse and wastewater recycling.

    These solutions can also minimize carbon footprints in wastewater treatment and reduce sludge volume for disposal, further lowering operating costs.

    Keeping water available (and securing the site)

    Reducing CO2 emissions is an important contribution for pharmaceutical companies to achieve their climate goals. Not only can successes integrated into CSR and ESG sustainability reports to enhance brand and shareholder value but also impact on bottom line, since reduced carbon emissions are directly linked to energy consumption and thus show high return on investment.

    For manufacturers worldwide, availability of water is assuming ever-greater importance with water supply more often called into question, even in previously temperate regions.

    Water scarcity can even determine the location for production sites, even in countries that have never known water scarcity before.

    This is both a result of disruption of expected weather patterns and also due to expanding populations and increasing pressure on water resources.

    This partly explains why so many of EnviroChemie’s recent business enquiries now emphasize water recycling and water reuse.

    Using water sustainably in production

    Water is vital raw material in most production, needed in a wide range of forms and qualities: as an ingredient in products and for flushing, cleaning, cooling and steam generation. But the availability of water is increasingly problematic, with manufacturers finding themselves in ever more intense competition with households, agriculture, nature and other industries for water resources, with consequent cost pressures.

    In addition, authorities and local governments are setting stricter limits for water extraction or discharge for water reuse in to safeguard the availability of water and protect natural water courses and arterial levels.  Such issues can even impact choice of locations for a facility.

    Clever solutions for wastewater recycling and reuse of water are needed, together with re-appraisal of resource consumption of conventional water processing plants. When modifying or expanding product ranges, manufacturers regularly have to consider how to meet consequent water needs.

    Optimizing water processing plants

    Companies can benefit both economically and environmentally from examining their plant technology and the water treatment processes they use for potential energy and resource savings.

    Strategic objectives are to reduce consumption of energy and resources, to reduce the overall carbon and water footprints, achieve lower operating costs and enhance corporate image and brand value.

    EnviroChemie can help attain these goals through a combination of interventions that include using lower energy plant components, optimizing technology and machinery utilization for more efficient plant operation and improving process efficiency through plant modernisation and expansion, together with predictive maintenance.

    Digitalization is also part of the mix, with digital tools to enhance plant efficiency, digital connection of processes, use of intelligent diagnostic and control systems and automatic data analysis.

    An initial EnviroChemie report, for example, can determine a production facility’s potential for recycling water and recyclable materials, and for saving energy. When it comes to plant operation, experts examine various areas and topics in a holistic way to develop recommendations for action.

    Case studies in sustainable water treatment

    Working towards climate-neutral, resource-optimised wastewater treatment, EnviroChemie has developed various optimisation measures over recent years, successfully implementing a number of projects focusing on sustainable water use.

    One such was for a German food producer processing large quantities of potatoes, where EnviroChemie had been responsible for operating the wastewater treatment plant for more than 10 years, treating up to 1,300 m3 of production wastewater per day to remove residual starch before direct discharge into a nearby river.

    Adaptations to the process technology, plant expansion, the use of digital aids and increased water recycling helped secure  long term availability of water for production, safeguarding the plant’s future  and delivering tangible benefits that included around 430,000 Nm3 of biogas extracted annually to be used for steam generation, reducing power consumption by 55% and halving sludge generation.

    As a further benefit, the increased water recycling, optimised power consumption and biogas production have also reduced carbon emissions and overfall water footprint.

    The project demonstrated the value of WaterExpert, EnviroChemie’s digital service platform, along with additional online measurement technology, in simplifying water treatment plant operation.

    Also in Germany, EnviroChemie helped a dairy manufacturer of products including powdered milk that consumes large quantities of water to reduce its operating costs by decreasing the workload and costs involved in its current wastewater treatment.

    A key element of the solution was to find a way to capture and recycle the vapor condensates formed by the drying and powdering processes, significantly reducing overall water consumption. EnviroChemie’s experts in the field analysed the processes and suggested an Envopur® system for water recycling: a process using a combination of biological and membrane treatment. By purifying around 120 cubic meters of vapour condensate per hour, wastewater generation was reduced by 50-85%, with recycled water available for sullage, cooling tower make-up water or boiler feed water.  Envopur treatment can be useful for quantities as low as 25 cubic meters of vapour condensate per hour. Where prices for fresh water or wastewater are particularly high, the process can be cost-effective from just 10 cubic meters per hour.

    Reducing sludge for lower costs

    The dairy case study also highlights the importance of optimising sludge treatment. Disposal of sludge composed pf solids, fats and water, from wastewater treatment is becoming an increasingly expensive problem for the dairy industry, due both to rising energy costs and changing regulatory frameworks, that now emphasise recovery of phosphorus, for example.

    Processed sludge can be used in agriculture as fertiliser or to fuel biogas plants to generate energy.

    EnviroChemie wastewater treatment plants provide a range of options when it comes to sludge treatment.

    “There is no one perfect solution as the framework conditions and the specific wastewater vary from location to location,” says Robert Lutze who has designed and built wastewater treatment plants throughout the world in his role as process engineer at EnviroChemie.

    “For example, the fat content, the load and the proportion of water vary depending on the production. “We therefore work with the customer to develop an appropriate treatment process in which the process technologies are matched to each other,” states Lutze.

    Anaerobic enhancement

    Making the right choices can make an enormous difference. For instance, the combination of floatation to separate off solids and fats and aerobic biological treatment commonly favored by dairies can be radically enhanced by adding an anaerobic process that not only increases energy efficiency but also reduces the quantity of sludge remaining after the wastewater treatment by 50-90%, since a greater proportion of the organic load is anaerobically removed from the wastewater without producing sludge.

    Furthermore, this combined process also reduces the carbon footprint of the wastewater treatment. The anaerobic technology also converts the organic load in the wastewater into high-energy biogas which can then be reused as energy.

    Water can also be extracted from the residual sludge in a dewatering plant which reduces the remaining quantity for disposal by up to 80 per cent.

    The impact on operating costs can be profound. At the dairy featured in the case study, EnviCheck auditing revealed operating inefficiencies and that sludge disposal costs were not in line with market values.

    EnviroChemie produced a management concept that included new equipment and complete plant operation with additional sludge dewatering that allowed the dairy to save 40,000 Euros a year.


    Click on EnviroChemie: Using water sustainably in production to learn more.
    Click on Sludge Disposal: Less volume, lower cost  for further information.


    Determine your plant's CO₂ emissions and discover which processes significantly impact your carbon footprint, as well as optimising your processes to reduce CO₂ emissions

    Engineering sustainable water treatment for wastewater recycling

    A recycling plant for vapour condensate saves fresh water for a dairy and reduces the pressure on its wastewater treatment plant.

    Engineering sustainable water treatment for wastewater recycling

    EnviroChemie operates the water processing plants for a potato processor and has reduced its consumption of power, fossil fuels and fresh water in multiple optimisation phases.

    Engineering sustainable water treatment for wastewater recycling

    EnviroChemie’s Water Expert digital service platform simplifies plant operation and makes recommendations for plant optimization.

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