Future-proof water management taking shape at Chemelot


The transition towards sustainable energy and green raw materials is inherently linked to a sustainable approach to industrial water consumption. The water transition is therefore high on the agenda of Chemelot, Brightsite and Circle Infra Partners. The ‘Circular Water for Chemelot’ program is exploring various options for the Chemelot industrial park to significantly reduce water consumption and emissions to surface water, taking into account the strict regulations governing water permits and the considerable process changes that will take place on the site as a result of these sustainability steps.

Water is increasingly becoming a matter of public interest as a result of more frequent droughts, heavy rainfall and concerns over water quality. Adequate water treatment and reducing consumption are therefore also gaining more and more attention. Chemelot depends on water for the operation of its plants, water is important for every basic process on the site. For example, water is used in heating (in the form of steam) and cooling processes. Water is also used as a solvent and means of transport.

Future-proof water management

“Sustainability is going to affect water consumption at Chemelot, and the raw materials and energy transition will result in process changes within the plants. This in turn, will affect water consumption and the composition of waste water from the plants. One of our goals is to ensure that, in time, treated water will be able to be reused once it has been processed. However, this will mean a concentrated stream of waste material, the brine waste stream, a problem that is trickier to solve. We want to find out how we can keep the brine waste stream to a minimum and how we can recover and reuse part of this waste. We are collaborating in a research project with Wageningen University & Research to find solutions for the latter. Another challenge is the high energy consumption required for extensive waste water treatment, while Chemelot’s mission is in fact to save energy. A systematic approach is required to evaluate measures and their effect”, explains Lianne van Oord, Program Manager Brightsite