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Saving 20 billion liters of wastewater by turning it into cooling water

As climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue, it is important that we find ways to reduce our reliance on natural freshwater sources. Sweco has been appointed to design the pipe distribution network for the cooling water plant of the Waterkracht project. The initiative to transform treated wastewater into cooling water for companies contributes to a more sustainable Port of Antwerp.

Circular water

We do so together with project partners Aquafin, water-link, Ekopak, and the infra-fund managed by PMV. By bringing in soil, water, and infrastructure experts, Sweco is able to design a complex engineering puzzle that will turn on the tap for more circular water. Companies and residents of Antwerp will have greater security of supply, even in times of drought. The water supply remains constant and consistent, despite the effects of climate change. Thanks to innovative water treatment techniques, the water is also of high quality. Connected companies have to intervene less with additives and therefore consume less energy.

The new progressive cooling water plant will upgrade 20 billion liters of treated wastewater to cooling water every year from 2025. That is as much as the water consumption of more than 600,000 inhabitants or more than 5% of the Flemish drinking water consumption.

Centralized water management

“This large-scale investment will make a big difference in our national climate ambitions,” says Steven Raes, Sustainability Manager. “The centralized approach allows us to achieve a much greater impact here for the optimization of the overall water management in the wider Antwerp region. This also creates opportunities for the rest of Flanders, where often stand-alone initiatives still have the upper hand. After all, cooperation or co-participation between businesses, public companies, and the environment is the key to success.”

As we face the challenges of climate change, initiatives like the Waterkracht project are essential. By working together and using innovative technologies, we can create a more sustainable future for all.

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