Concept of E4Water

E4Water is aiming for a paradigm shift in chemical industry to create a breakthrough in industrial water treatment.

A broad consultation with industrial stakeholders, supported by the Technology Platforms SusChem and WssTP together with the FP7 CSA ChemWater during the preparation of E4Water, led to the E4Water concept and a strong E4Water consortium: A combination of Chemical Industry, experts in integrated/symbiotic frameworks, technology developing and assessment partners and research partners.

Applying E4Water results will directly address great societal, environmental and economic needs related to industrial water use.

Societal needs: Closure of industrial water loops: the competition between industrial water use and municipal/agricultural water use for scare fresh water resources (esp. in coastal regions, Southern Europe and global scarcity regions) will be overcome. Thus E4Water helps to provide industrial products in a sustainable way.

Environmental needs: Reduction of water stress to aquatic ecosystems due to decreased uptake of fresh water and reduced release of pollutants and heat into the natural environment. By avoiding incineration of high concentrated streams and with raw materials and heat recovery E4Water will strongly contribute to a decrease in energy and raw material demand

Economic needs: E4Water provides a straight forward concept to support a resource efficient Europe and to decouple economic growth form an increase of resources use. The increased independency of fresh water resources increases production efficiency and stability (decreased risk of production reduction due to seasonal shortage of fresh water resources). Better compliance with EU regulatory requirements (e.g. WFD, GWDD) due to less release of pollutants and heat into the natural environment.

E4Water is envisioning the realization of its concept by:

  1. Creating water loop interfaces, synergies and symbiosis: (I) in industry (II) with urban & agricultural water management
  2. Developing and testing innovative materials, process technologies, synergetic combination of technologies and tools for an integrated water management (i.e. membranes, biotreatment including microalgae, pretreatment, polymers, chemical oxidation and disinfection) that enhance recycling/reuse of industrial relevance.
  3. Providing an open innovation approach for testing the solutions developed to other industries to ensure robustness, wide applicability, cross-fertilization and exploitation of eco-efficient solutions.
  4. Testing and validating the developments in 6 industrial on-site case studies for tests and pilot demonstrations, each one of them representing critical problems in a wide range of Chemical Industry and other process industries, therefore fostering a wide acceptance of the solutions developed during the project. Five of the case studies (CS) are linked to on-site demonstration (CS1-5), one case study (CS6) is embedded in a symbiotic network by using samples of the network streams.
  5. Implementing improved tools for (I) process efficiency optimization, linking water processes with production processes via modeling, (II) eco-efficiency assessment, esp. related to water, energy, costs and environmental risks. 
  6. Following a multi stage exploitation approach from industrial partners to related process industry


For the realization of the E4Water concept chemical industry along the whole value chain is involved.

Today’s situation with limited recycling/reuse components and limited connections across sectors (the width of arrows is in both figures an indicator for the water demands). 


The E4Water concept, following an integrated, multi-disciplinary and holistic approach in different industrial scales and across sectors. The dashed lines indicate the impact by E4Water, CS (= case study) indicate where on site industrial pilot testing and demonstration are focused on, the number allows their identification.


This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 280756.

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