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Wastewater recycling process launched for composites
Wednesday, 03 February 2016

Polymer materials supplier Covestro – formerly Bayer Materials Science – is said to be testing an environmentally friendly process for recycling saline process wastewater in plastics production, following the construction of a pilot plant at the company’s Krefeld-Uerdingen site in Germany.

The technology reportedly reduces the salt levels in water whilst conserving its potable elements, which is being tested in the production of polycarbonate, a high-performance plastic used in the likes of the automotive, engineering, electronics and medical technology sectors.

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment has provided EUR 740,000 in funding to support the project, calling it an “outstanding example” of how a closed-cycle approach can be put into practice in industry. The total cost of investment is said to be around EUR 3.7 million.

Covestro says this is the first time in Germany that saline industrial wastewater has been recycled at an industrial plant, and is set to help save up to 30,000 metric tons of salt and 400,000 metric tons of fully desalinated water in chlor-alkali electrolysis every year.

Every hour, the [trialling] process is said to stop up to 70 cubic meters of saline wastewater from being released into the Rhine, thereby protecting a similar quantity of potable water resources.

Speaking about this process, Markus Steilemann, head of innovation at Covestro, said: “By taking this step the company is once again demonstrating its capacity and will to use new processes to help conserve resources and protect the environment. The generous support from the federal government encourages us to remain diligent in our efforts to develop sustainable technologies and products.”