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1 ELECTROCHEMICAL WATER TREATMENT PILOT PLANT IN THE DAIRY INDUSTRY WITH PHOSPHATE RECOVERY The Project leading to these results has received funding from the EACI by the Eco-Innovation programme under grant agreement n. ECO/08/238976/SI

2 Background Water is fundamental for life, not only for direct consumption (potable water) but also for sanitary and health requirements, and for the production of food or basic industrial goods and commodities. In industry, water plays an important role in the development and formulation of products, in heating or cooling processes, or in transport and cleaning processes. These processes entail a considerable generation of wastewater that must be pretreated for discharge or reuse in order to comply with tighter European regulations on wastewater management. The main challenge is to promote a sustainable use of water in industries, while ensuring an efficient management of raw materials or energy. Within industry, food and drink is the second leading manufacturing sector in the EU. This sector, and specially dairy industry, has a special problem related to the nature of its wastewaters that are mainly characterized by its organic matter content, conductivity, suspended solids, and potentially recoverable phosphate. In this frame, public, scientific and industrial community searches for new innovative processes for wastewater treatment that improve the offer of conventional depuration processes, by increasing the efficiency and reducing the associated economic and environmental impacts. The project The aim of REPHATER project is the development of a water treatment pilot plant based on the sequential combination of two innovative prototypes of existing technologies: Electrocoagulation (EC) and Electrooxidation (EO). The plant also includes a recovery/recycling phosphate unit in an eco-innovative integrated approach never considered before. The partners in the consortium were carefully selected to provide complementary expertise and had outstanding track records in the field. This project proposal is the result of the collaboration of R&D institutes, centers and companies from different European Member States.

3 The Project: REPHATER solution for dairy wastewater treatment Main Expected Objectives Objectives Improved environmental performance Water management Contaminants removal Water management Recycling of water Waste management Waste reduction compared to traditional uses Better use of natural resources Waste management Water input reduction Recycling of phosphate Reduced fresh water consumption Economic performance Reduced chemicals consumption Operational costs reduction Chemicals reduction compared to traditional uses Operational costs reduction when compared to conventional plants

4 Results REPHATER strategy may substitute existing technologies in an eco-innovative, automated integrated technology never considered before. Technically, the demonstrative plant improves existing electrochemical solutions. The main technical advantage of EC and EO consists on their unique custom-built- electrodes and electrochemical cell design. The integration of a phosphate valorisation unit contributes to reduce the consumption of natural sources of phosphate which are decreasing in quantity and quality. Indeed, REPHATER solution recovers phosphate from sludge produced through EC by means of the improvement and adaptation of the wet method using acid dissolution and co-precipitation as Calcium/Iron phosphate. Results obtained with REPHATER technology show significant economic and environmental benefits, determining a deep reduction of many environmental/economic burdens. Direct/quantitative environmental benefits (e.g. reductions of waste, emissions, energy, resource savings, etc.): Contaminants removal in water: : - 100% water management % phosphorous removal with EC treatment. More than 90% phosphate recovery. - Treated washes 100% potential reusable in BCR s facilities. - 39% water input reduction in wastewaters. - Up to 65% waste reduction: REPHATER solution offers a great reduction on waste compared to conventional treatments % decrease on chemical products consumption: REPHATER has also achieved a great reduction on chemical products compared with conventional wastewater treatments. Economic performance/market replication indicators: - Until 23 % operational costs reduction when compared to conventional plants. - Technology 100% replicable to of producers generating wastewaters containing significant phosphates, applicable to 100% of other sectors generating wastewaters containing significant phosphates.

5 REPHATER pilot plant Current barriers and potential market to REPHATER innovation The sector is overwhelmingly populated by SMEs (99% of companies). Food companies in Europe are mostly micro (78.9%) and small (16.6%); medium size companies account for 3.6% with only 0.9% being multinational; Products are highly diverse and often production methods are based upon craft rather than technology; SMEs often lack the resources- qualified personnel, time, and money - for research, innovation and adoption of new technologies. An aspect to be taken into consideration is the high cost of effective and competitive water and waste management technologies. This is due to its limited application in the market and to the existence of many technologies that are still in a prototype phase and still undertaking technological development. Timescale by which innovation must produce a return on investment should be short while the investment in water and waste technologies does not usually generate an immediate economic benefit; Profit margins in the highly-competitive food and drink markets are low; The food and drink sector has a responsibility to produce safe and preferably also healthy foods and drinks.

6 Contributions of the project to improve the competitiveness of EU economy (European added value) The European food and drink industry's competitiveness is at risk. New emerging economies, for example China, India and Brazil, are seeing export growth of added-value products. Over the last decade, Europe's share of the global food and drink market has declined from 24% to 20%. Since Europe is increasingly unable to compete on cost alone, effective and rapid innovation is needed to reverse this decline. The extent of the challenge facing the European food and drink sector may be seen from data recently published by CIAA (Benchmarking Report on food and drink industry competitiveness, 2006). Investment in European R&D in the food sector was only 0.32% in 2003, lagging behind Norway, Japan, US and Australia. In addition, most innovation indicators show the food and drink sector to be below the European manufacturing industry's average. REPHATER project aims to improve the competitiveness of EU food and drink industries: As it has been stated before, REPHATER efficiently manages dairy industry wastewater while recovering and recycling phosphate in an eco-innovative approach never considered before. The quality of the resulting water offers the possibility of water recovery and internal reuse minimizing both the total amount of discharged water and clean water consumption. Electrochemically treated water may be potentially reusable for irrigation and/or cleaning, bringing around 40% total water input reduction. It is noticeable that this water consumption reduction also supposes an indirect generation of new water resources. Available resources will increase owing to the avoidance of its extraction from underground or surface waters. The phosphate recovery from such an electrochemical wastewater system would thus contribute to the minimization of natural phosphorous extraction from rocks. Additionally, it would minimize the eutrophisation of rivers or other natural water streams derived from the use of animal excreta as a fertilizer in agriculture. The system also achieves a significant decrease on chemical products consumption: REPHATER has also achieved a great reduction on chemical products compared with conventional wastewater treatments. REPHATER also generates less waste than conventional practices, Both chemicals consumption and waste minimization makes the operational cost of the REPHATER solution very competitive.

7 Market replication Transference As stated before, REPHATER becomes a technology with great potential to be transferred to other industrial sectors that generate wastewater with high phosphate content. Main sectors identified: Automotive and aerospace Metal finishing Electronics Ceramics industry Construction Cosmetics Pharmaceutics Chemistry Others SMEs have the opportunity to lead the wastewater issue, giving response to public, scientific and industrial community s challenges, by means of RE- PHATER strategy.

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