Circular water use is one answer to the drought problems of today and the future. The brand new water reuse plant at Alpro in Wevelgem fits perfectly into the vision of a sustainable and climate-robust water supply. Alpro is investing 3 million euros and can thus count on an annual capacity of no less than 720,000 m³ of water.
Brand new water reuse plant at Alpro in Wevelgem.
Water is an essential part of production for a plant-based brand such as Alpro. Most of the water impact is in growing the ingredients, but large amounts of water are also used for cleaning the factories within the framework of ensuring food safety. Alpro thus considers recovering and saving water wherever possible as an important part of its sustainability strategy. In all factories, wastewater is treated and over the past 10 years, water consumption per product has decreased by as much as 20%.Flanders often faces water scarcity during the summer months. Scientists expect dry periods and other extreme weather conditions to become more common in our area in the coming decades. Alpro specifically looked for ways to optimize water flows at the Wevelgem site. This resulted in a collaboration with De Watergroep for the new water reuse plant, representing an investment of 3 million euros.
Flanders’ largest water reuse plant
Eugene Kusse, plant director of Alpro Wevelgem clarifies, “Alpro has concluded an agreement with Azulatis (then the Industry business unit of De Watergroep, nvdr) for the construction and operation of a water reuse plant on the Wevelgem site, with the aim of producing process water of drinking water quality. We consciously choose not to use this water in our products themselves, but rather in our production processes. The water reuse plant combines various filtration techniques such as coarse filtration, pipe flocculation or flocculation, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis, which ensures that the water meets drinking water standards and is thus reusable in our plant processes. The plant has an initial capacity of 720,000 m³ of water per year, which we can later expand to as much as 930,000 m³ of drinking water per year. That’s 372 Olympic-sized swimming pools. On top of that, it is designed for a maximum treatment flow of 200 m³/hr with a maximum net production of 140 m³/hr of drinking water. With these figures, the plant at Alpro Wevelgem is the largest water reuse plant in Flanders. Azulatis is jointly responsible for the operation of the water reuse plant, and also takes on the quality monitoring to ensure the drinking water quality of the process water supplied at all times.”
Azulatis provides ‘customized water’ to companies, including through reuse projects in which – as here at Alpro – we further upgrade treated wastewater to drinking water quality,” says Frank De Poortere, CEO ad interim at Azulatis. “By doing so, we not only close the water cycle, we also provide more capacity on the drinking water network and less pressure on vulnerable aquifers. With this project, we are also contributing substantially to the objectives of the Flemish government’s Blue Deal.