Reshaping water use using technology

control room full of tanks and valves

In support of Dow’s 2025 World-Leading Operations Goal to reduce its freshwater intake intensity by 20% at key water-stressed sites, the site in Böhlen, Germany, had started a collaboration project called “Reshape water use.” This project includes 4 pillars: addressing increased water recycling; digitalization; increasing awareness about the resource of water; and, establishing local collaborations with internal and external stakeholders from industry, agriculture, communities and authorities.

The site expects at least a quarter of its targeted water savings to be achieved in the medium term by treating the rainwater from the site through advanced wetlands and use it as a third freshwater source. The remaining reduction in freshwater demand will be met by developing advanced low-energy and low-chemical treatment processes.

To meet these goals, Dow Böhlen is participating in an EU-funded project entitled AquaSPICE that will trial new treatment technologies for water reuse. In parallel, a digital model of the water network will simulate how changes in the raw water quality or water treatment will impact plants, helping to support decision-making. Through AquaSPICE, a plan for implementing future technologies will be developed to sustainably reduce freshwater withdrawals and stabilize the water supply.

A collaboration for sustainable water use

The AquaSPICE project looks at solutions for digital and circular innovations in the field of water use. In addition, the project also will try to raise awareness about the importance of efficient use of natural resources. As part of a broad European consortium, €11.06 million in EU grants were awarded for the implementation of the AquaSPICE project. This project is aligned with the EU Green Deal and focuses on water scarcity, water security and related aspects. The collaboration consists of 29 partners from industry, academia, water technology and IT companies.

Both Dow’s Böhlen and Terneuzen (Netherlands) sites are participating in the project. Dow's direct partners are the Technical University Aachen (Germany), the University of Ghent (Belgium), the HZ University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), Evides Industriewater (Netherlands) and ENGIE Laborelec (Belgium).

Goals and outcomes

The main goals of AquaSPICE are to reduce water demand, reduce or restore water loss, pre-treat and recycle water and utilize alternative water sources. The project seeks to enhance the internal recycle of various process streams, including cooling tower blowdown and dilution steam blowdown streams; and create a next level of site management by using smart monitoring algorithms and control on raw water, discharge and recycle streams.

At Böhlen, various new treatment technologies will be tested in two on-site pilots. The trails for an improved cooling tower operation are carried out with two small-scale cooling towers in Linkebeek, Belgium. The focus of the trials is to achieve a stable raw water treatment for cooling tower makeup water and input for the demin water plant and the treatment and reuse of blowdown streams from the cooling towers. The use of digital technologies is intended to make water treatment more efficient and to reduce the use of energy and chemicals, which will diminish the environmental impact.

graphic showing water flows at Bohlen

By rethinking and reshaping how water is used in its operations, Dow is taking a more circular approach to how water is used, managed and shared.