Since Krones over the course of time has already optimised its individual machines for enhanced efficacy, the complete-system vendor has now expanded the horizons of its corporate capabilities to factory level: HydroCircle has been developed, a holistically conceived concept for converting wastewater from the production operation into new process water. This covers all the process steps involved that give rise to wastewater in production.
Between one and three litres per litre of beer or soft drinks, two litres per kilo of PET – during a production operation, very substantial quantities of wastewater are created. For precisely this reason, not only beverage and liquid-food producers, but also recyclers are continually seeking solutions for downsizing this wastewater incidence.
From effluent to process water
- In this concept, all the process wastewater from the production operation is passed through the existing network of gullies into a central storage basin.
- From there, any solids it contains are sieved out, whereupon the wastewater is neutralised in a collecting tank.
- The next step in the process, depending on the size of the system concerned, is traditional-style biological water treatment (aerobic or as an optional extra also anaerobic as a supplement). For this purpose, a new generation of internationally field-tested, patented, particularly robust and effective technologies (DACS and AGAR-MBBR respectively, suitable for direct and indirect discharge) is used from our partner Aqana-Aqwise, a company that has been specialising in this particular field for decades.
If very sizable quantities of wastewater or pollution loads are involved, it is expedient to use an anaerobic stage: this will then produce biogas, which can be re-used in a unit-type cogeneration plant, for example, or in the heat-generation process. Up to 25 per cent of the amount of primary energy needed in a company can thus be substituted. These technologies are also commercially viable for small and mid-tier companies (as from 50,000 hectolitres per year).
- Once all the residues have been removed from the wastewater, it needs to be treated to make it suitable again for use as process water. This is where Krones’ Hydronomic water treatment systems come into play. By means of ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis, even the tiniest particles like micro-organisms or minerals are filtered out of the water.
- Following the subsequent admixture of chlorine dioxide in order to disinfect and stabilise the water, it is ready to be used again in the production process.
The HydroCircle closed-circuit concept enables the water consumption in the production operation to be substantially reduced: up to 80 per cent less water is now required – which of course has a perceptible effect on both the company’s water costs and its energy utilisation as well as environmental performance balance. The system can not only be installed in new factories, it can also be retrofitted in existing plants.