The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the EU in terms of employment and value added. It employs over 4.72 million workers in more than 294,000 enterprises.
The agri-food industry is a growth industry, as EU food and drink exports have doubled in the last 10 years to over 90,000 million euros and have contributed to a positive balance of almost 30,000 million.
However, it is a sector mainly made up of SMEs. Small and medium-sized companies represent 47.5% of food and beverage turnover and 60.8% of employment. The development of water treatment solutions adapted to the characteristics of an SME is absolutely essential.
For this type of industry, water is an essential resource for the development of its productive activity. Drinking water is used for the initial washing of foodstuffs, the processing of raw materials, the cleaning of equipment and as a tool for the process of preserving and finalising raw materials into fully finished products. All this leads to high water consumption, which represents approximately 1.8% of total water use in Europe, the average water consumption being 4.9 m3/inhabitant. Although it is true that these figures vary considerably between countries and their water reuse policies.
Intensive water use generates wastewater with a high organic matter load (COD) that makes treatment very difficult. Moreover, not all companies produce the same type of wastewater. It depends on the final product they produce (wine, milk, beer, beverages, food, etc.) and requires treatments adapted to the specific characteristics of that type of wastewater.
Water scarcity and the high cost of traditionally used water treatments are becoming a real challenge for the sector. There is an urgent need for effective alternative solutions with lower investment and operating costs than the current solutions offered on the market.
ANAERGY is a proprietary disruptive technology, funded by the EU SMEi Phase2 programme, for the efficient treatment of water discharges in the small and medium-sized food industry. The solution removes 95% of COD in wastewater, minimising the area required and the consumption of energy and chemicals. All this results in reduced operating and maintenance costs. ANAERGY is a modular and tailor-made technology that integrates different processes in the whole system, being fully adaptable to the customer’s requirements.
ANAERGY technology provides both the user and the environment with multiple benefits such as:
To demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology, INGEOBRAS has carried out small and large-scale tests in a pilot plant set up for this project.
Over 24 months, two water samples per day have been analysed daily to ensure the correct operation of the plant and to obtain reliable results from the technologies.
After having completed the testing phase with very positive and promising results, INGEOBRAS begins with the commercial phase of this technology.