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Future thinking: spotlight on sustainability and supply chain challenges

Industries around the world are grappling with emissions regulations, a global pandemic and supply chain struggles as they work to increase efficiency and maintain profitability.  Chris King, Industrial Sales Director – Water Disinfection, Evoqua Water Technologies, looks at water usage and how operators can overcome the challenges they are facing.  

As world leaders came together for COP26, our collective impact on the planet was forced front and centre and the spotlight firmly shone on the net zero agenda. While climate change and CO2 emissions were the primary focus, broader sustainability is now higher on the agenda of the public, policymakers and industry than ever before. 

Some may view the increased requirement for sustainable practices as an organisational and resource-intensive burden but, equally, there are also many opportunities. Becoming more sustainable can reap benefits for plants in terms of increased site resilience, reduced operating costs and improved corporate social responsibility credentials. So, with water and energy usage coming under ever-increasing scrutiny, what practices or innovations can plants adopt to reduce their environmental impact and benefit the bottom line? 

One example is optimising cooling and heating water treatment to reduce fouling and the build-up of contamination. As one of the greatest uses of water in industrial operations, this is a sure way to maximise heat exchanger efficiency thereby reducing energy usage and cost while also minimising ‘make up’ water consumption. In a similar vein, water reuse is an extremely effective way to minimise environmental burden and reduce operating costs.  

At Evoqua, we too are looking at ways to improve the safety and security of industrial operations, focusing on water disinfection solutions. While international supply chain challenges and risks are impacting every sector, we are working hard to make on-site disinfection solutions safe and accessible around the world. 

Many plants are moving away from bulk chemical supply to more self-sufficient disinfection systems, reducing the need for large volumes of chemicals to be transported and reducing the associated trucking emissions and environmental hazards. It is not just in industry applications either, we have seen major UK municipalities make the switch to on-site generation systems over bulk hypochlorite for critical water treatment works – particularly our OSEC® system – to reduce the number of chemical road tankers and provide supply security. 

At Evoqua we offer a number of on-site treatment technologies for different requirements. This includes our OSEC system to produce hypochlorite using just water, salt and electricity; ozone generation using surrounding air; UV systems that require no additional chemicals and chlorine dioxide on-site generation. Importantly, on-site generation, UV and ozone treatments provide security of treatment, increasing efficiencies across cooling process applications. This is vital to help sites on their journey to net zero but also mitigate the risks associated with increasingly volatile energy costs. And, with a reduction in the use of chemicals across all these treatment types, sites can reduce their dependence on chemicals and their associated impact on the environment and reduce supply chain emissions.  

As we look toward the future amidst continued supply chain and environmental pressure, it is clear that we must continue to invest in sustainable and efficient solutions. Within the water treatment industry, Evoqua is leading the way. Alongside our existing solutions, we have recently launched a new sustainability and innovation hub at our global headquarters in Pittsburgh. This will help to inform our development of innovative products and solutions that sustainably address water treatment challenges over the next decade and deliver increased efficiencies to industrial applications globally. 

Watch the full interview with Chris here to learn more about emerging opportunities in industrial applications to help improve sustainability.


Connect with Chris King on LinkedIn.