Water shortages may become a problem of the past.
A collaborative 10-year study by energy services firm KEMA, the European Membrane Institute at the University of Twente and several Dutch companies revealed that so much high-grade water can be recovered from flue gases of factory chimneys, as a result of a strongly improved membrane technology, that industrial plants in arid areas can make a valuable contribution to the world's water shortage.
Tests in industrial plants in the Netherlands and Germany have demonstrated that at least 40% of the water in the flue gases can be recovered with the new membrane technology. With this recovery rate, an average power plant can supply twice as much water as it uses.
The amount of water saved from a 400 megawatt power plant, is equivalent to the water usage of 3,500 Western households. The study also found the water produced was safe for both industrial use and consumption. In addition, energy can be saved in this industrial process reducing costs as well as CO2-emissions.
14 partners from Europe, the Middle East and Africa are currently working together on follow-up research.