With a new plan to drastically reduce wastewater, Nouryon’s chlorine plant in Ibbenbüren, Germany, took the third prize in the national 2020 Responsible Care Awards. An initiative of VCI, the German chemical industry association, the awards recognize outstanding and innovative work among chemical companies on their journey towards safe chemicals management and performance excellence.
In June 2020, the Ibbenbüren chlorine plant, part of a joint venture of Evonik and Nouryon, won the regional awards for its project “A wastewater-free chemical plant – no more utopia!.” The project was selected as one of the winners from over 30 entries nationwide.
In line with Nouryon’s aim to continuously improve its eco-efficiency and reduce emissions, the Ibbenbüren site developed a plan to reduce all wastewater from the plant by 84% by 2023. Furthermore, it developed a vision for a completely wastewater-free site; 10 optimization projects are already underway that will reduce the amount of wastewater from 175,000 m3 per year in 2001 to 28,000 m3 per year in 2023. The site believes that a completely wastewater-free factory could be within reach as early as 2035.
"We are very proud of this award. Coming in third in a nationwide competition is a great achievement and it shows that our sustainability efforts are paying off and that they are being broadly recognized by the chemical industry," says Egbert Schasfoort, Site Director of Nouryon in Ibbenbüren. “To be able to save so much wastewater, many individual projects are still required. I want to thank the whole team for their ongoing commitment.”
Andre Beckers, Health, Safety, Environment & Security (HSE&S) Manager added: “We are still identifying larger and smaller projects at Ibbenbüren where we can improve to meet our vision of becoming completely wastewater-free.”
Nouryon’s plant in Ibbenbüren produces chlorine and caustic soda, which are essential to make products such as disinfectants, pharmaceuticals and aluminum. Nouryon operates a state-of-the-art chlor-alkali electrolysis plant together with its joint venture partner, Evonik Industries AG. The site employs approximately 115 people and has a capacity of 90 kilotons of chlorine annually. The plant uses a membrane process with ‘zero-gap’ technology, which uses up to 25 percent less energy and generates significantly less wastewater than conventional methods of production.
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