Umicore Argentina closed the loop for cooling water (2018)

Umicore is a global company with a global footprint. In terms of our products and services, we are uniquely positioned to address global megatrends namely the need for cleaner air and resource stewardship, and environmental performance and safety are at the heart of our process designs.

Umicore continues to provide advanced emission control and battery material technologies while advocating for a ramp-up of clean energy and clean mobility technologies. We also emphasize the links between a Circular Economy and responsible sourcing, resource efficiency, waste management and high-quality recycling. We believe that we turn sustainability into a greater competitive edge through our unique business model and our commitment to ethical and responsible sourcing.

Part of our commitment to sustainability, as stated in The Umicore Way, is to take into account the environmental impact of our operations with growing and expanding capacity. Many factors are considered in choosing to build new sites or to expand existing sites. Our new site in Nysa, Poland, for example, was selected for its vicinity to our European customers (providing reduced transport impact of our products) and a skilled technical workforce, as well as lowcarbon electricity supply. The Nysa site will make use of windmills, hydro-energy and photovoltaics.

Active participation in the management and remediation of risks from operations is an integral part of the Umicore Way. Our proactive program for assessing and remediating, where necessary, soil and groundwater contamination progresses tirelessly year-on-year.

Process Water Efficiency: Umicore Argentina closed the loop for cooling water

In January 2018, our Precious Metals Chemistry site in Pilar, Argentina completed the construction of a closed loop system for the site’s cooling water.

Previously, water at the site was drawn directly from an underground well and fed directly to condensers and thermoregulators, as well as two 90m3 storage tanks, which in turn pumped water to cool other condensers and machinery. All the water was discharged directly after use. As production began to grow, so did the water requirements, and the site considered replacing the well pump to increase the flow.

Instead, a collaborative project team bringing together Umicore teams from Argentina, Brazil and Germany worked to create a closed loop for cooling water in Pilar. By closing the water loop and adding a new cooling tower and 2 new chillers, the plant now has a continuous supply of cooling water while significantly reducing water use and discharge.

Thanks to the new closed loop for cooling water, our Pilar site reduced water use over 97.8% year on year (from 226,000 m³ in 2017, down to 4,800 m³ in 2018).

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