Nijhuis NEWS - September 2017

In a keynote presentation at BlueTech Forum, which took place in Dublin, Ireland on 6-7 June 2017, Nijhuis delivered a keynote on Key Industrial Market Trends, taking delegates on a global tour of innovations addressing the food-water nexus, circular economy, water scarcity and business models needed to create and deliver projects.

BlueTech Chief Executive Paul O’Callaghan took time ahead of the event to find out more about the perspective of CEO Menno M. Holterman of Nijhuis Industries on water reuse and sustainable water management.

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Water Challenges

“Water challenges around the world are driven by many things,” says Menno M. Holterman, “but especially water scarcity, a lack of groundwater and aquifers drying up. I believe industry is making a great deal of progress, which is what we see in a lot of our projects around the world. “We see clients now actively asking for integrated solutions, including finance and operations & maintenance, which is a seismic shift. We also see a lot of industries, including those that have been invited to participate in BlueTech Forum, making water reuse, for example, mandatory.”

Industrial Reuse

“Nijhuis is working with big multinational corporations such as Nestlé, Unilever and L'Oréal to explore the opportunities for sustainable reuse. Until about two years ago, water reuse was always requested in tender, however only implemented in water scarce areas, because of the high cost and not having a business case to pay back the investment. Today most of the large corporations have decided to make reuse mandatory, not only on greenfield projects, but on a lot of brownfield projects and upgrades and expansions of existing plants.”

Corporate barriers

Holterman says he sees Nijhuis Industries’ key global accounts taking responsibility and starting to implement these kinds of measures. However, currently, the recycled water is mostly used for non-core processes and non-product water. “It’s only a matter of time before some clients start reuse across production,” he says, “especially in areas of water scarcity. There are still a lot of brands that do not want the product water to be originated from treated effluent, so they want to discharge the water into a river and pick up the water hundreds of meters downstream, take it in, treat it and use it as product water.

But to take it directly from the effluent treatment plant back into the process or mix it with water originated from treated effluent is still a no-go area, especially in the food, pharma and cosmetics industry, for mostly psychological and marketing reasons.” Holterman believes the influence of other industries will ultimately crossover to the food and beverage industry, especially if you are operating in an area like Africa, India, China or Mexico where water scarcity is having a huge impact and some operations due to it size and magnitude are literally running out of sufficient water to deal with the growing demand for their products.