LANXESS Environmentally friendly water treatment

22 Mar 2022

Water is essential to life but a scarce resource. The World Water Day reminds us how precious it is and that we need to ensure environmentally friendly water treatment.
  • Water – the invisible treasure
  • Resource-friendly use of water
  • Efficient water management in the industry
  • Removal of natural contaminants
  • Tips for efficient water use

Water - the invisible treasure

The Corona pandemic highlights the importance of clean water and hygiene. After all, hygiene is almost impossible without water. The blue gold is vital for humans and animals. But clean drinking water is not available in sufficient quantities everywhere. It must therefore be purified - as environmentally friendly as possible.

Agriculture and industry also depend on water to produce products. Water scarcity becomes an issue for everybody, not only for developing countries or desert regions.  The increasing demand for the scarce resource constantly needs new and improved solutions, to ensure that clean water remains available in sufficient quantity and quality.

We need to understand that water is essential to life and needs protection. This is the challenge we must face. In line with this year's World Water Day motto: "groundwater: making the invisible visible".
With this annual theme, the United Nations wants to draw attention worldwide on March 22 to the importance of our groundwater - on the one hand as an indispensable resource and part of the water cycle, but also with regard to the pressures to which it is increasingly exposed.

Resource-friendly use of water

It all starts with the responsible use of water – for us in the private sector, but also for local authorities and industry. Industrial production without water is rarely possible. But options still remain untapped for using less water, returning it to the environment as unpolluted as possible, and thus helping to protect groundwater and surface water.

It is obvious that companies like LANXESS, which themselves develop and offer products, technologies and solutions for efficient water treatment, can do more. At the end of 2020, we therefore launched a water program that includes Group-wide targets and voluntary commitments as well as local "water stewardship program". Initially, primarily for four water risk sites in
  • India,
  • Italy,
  • and China

Tiny specialists for water treatment

In addition to its own production sites, LANXESS also supports the sustainable use of water as a resource by its customers. For example, we ensure reliable treatment of clean drinking water as well as customized wastewater treatment or groundwater remediation. This is where our Lewatit® ion exchange resins come into play. Ion exchange resins are small polymer beads that selectively remove pollutants from water without any harmful additives. Bettina Blottko, Head of the Liquid Purification Technologies business unit, LANXESS said,
"Ion exchange resins play a role almost everywhere sustainable water management is required. We are proud of our long track record in this field."

Efficient water management in the industry

WATER TREATMENT IN POWER PLANTS

Water-steam circuits are at the heart of all thermal power plants that generate electricity from fossil or nuclear fuels. Here, the water and steam serve as an energy carrier and cooling medium.

Lewatit® ion exchange resins have helped to ensure efficient, safe and reliable operation of these power plants worldwide over many years. They play a key role in demineralizing the cooling and boiler feed water and in condensate polishing in the water-steam circuits. This is the only way to prevent incrustations, which ensures optimum heat transfer in the long term.

In addition, corrosion can be effectively reduced or avoided in this way. Together with the efficient regeneration of the resins, this ensures long-lasting, economical operation of the power plants.

DRINKING WATER TREATMENT

Contamination of surface water by "Natural Organic Matter" (NOM), for example polyphenols, humic and fulvic acids, which are formed during the decomposition of plant material, can be removed with strongly basic ion exchange resins of specially adjusted porosity. These functional resins bind or adsorb the impurities. This is how drinking water is treated in the Netherlands or the United Kingdom

GROUNDWATER TREATMENT

Pollutants can also enter groundwater in agricultural regions. Especially in Germany, nitrate from fields overfertilized with liquid manure is a current problem. But even if the slurry is thickened and processed into solid fertilizer, the liquid residual phase containing ammonia must not be discharged untreated into surface waters.

Lewatit® ion exchange resins efficiently separate nitrate and ammonium ions and ensure that they are converted into solids that can either be landfilled or used specifically as fertilizer.

RECOVERY OF PRECIOUS METAL

If metal ions are present in higher concentrations, for example in industrial wastewater, recovery may be worthwhile. Lewatit® ion exchange resins selectively bind certain metal ions, e.g. precious metals such as platinum or gold. Minor components can also be separated, such as zinc from copper electrolytes or cobalt from nickel or copper salt solutions. The metal ions are thereby removed from the aqueous solution and at the same time enriched on the ion exchange resin, which considerably facilitates their further processing or, in the case of wastewater streams, purification.

Removal of natural contaminants

Natural arsenic contamination of drinking water is the most significant natural trigger of poisoning worldwide, especially in India and Bangladesh. Water is also contaminated with arsenic in parts of Argentina and Chile or the western United States. In addition to acute and chronic illnesses, increased tumor development can be the result. In order to comply with the limit of 10 mg/l set by the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people rely on treatment of their drinking water. Special Bayoxide®-type iron oxide adsorbers approved for drinking water applications from our Krefeld plant, have proven to be very efficient for this purpose and are used in filter systems worldwide.

Tips for efficient water use

Privately, too, we can do a lot to use water responsibly.
 


 

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