Page 45 - Food & Drink March 2020
P. 45

Solutions for a diminishing resource
Australia is preparing to face unprecedented challenges in the energy and water sector as it attempts to curb the impact of climate change. Hydroflux director Andrew Miley writes.
AUSTRALIA, more so than many Western economies, is highly exposed to the negative financial impacts of climate change. Extreme weather events such as drought have already had a huge influence on Australia’s food sector.
Many of Australia’s medium and large food processing facilities are in regional and remote inland areas where drought and water scarcity have already devastated industry and communities alike. Water is a critical resource for any industry, and many will consequentially look to practical solutions to recover and recycle water.
While the potential for Australia to be the food bowl for South East Asia, the impacts of climate change, drought and water shortage have the potential to inhibit our capabilities. Currently almost a dozen significant inland cities are closing in on the controversially dubbed “Day Zero”, a term coined for the potable water supply crisis in Cape Town, South Africa.
Regional Australian centres and townships cannot rely on the same emergency solutions implemented in coastal regions like Cape Town. For inland cities such as Dubbo, Narromine and Cobar the only alternative water source is groundwater.
Groundwater sources provide their own challenges, as often the bores struggle to keep up with demand. For towns like Dubbo, the groundwater table is dropping, and bores are starting to fail, while in other areas the groundwater is too saline to drink, so desalination is required.
Major freshwater pipelines, along with the massive energy consumption required for pumping, or trucking in water are considered, at major expense.
The implementation of
advanced water treatment (AWT) plants to recycle industrial wastewater is far more efficient than desalinating sea water and usually more economical than treating ground water to a potable standard.
Food manufacturers based in regional and remote areas have the opportunity to be industry leaders by looking to alternative solutions to dramatically reduce their freshwater consumption.
AWT plants use the final stage of reverse osmosis to generate potable water from wastewater. This final process is very similar to that used for seawater desalination although considerably more economical in the percentage of potable water recovered from the feed water and energy used (see
LEFT: Drought and water scarcity have already devastated industries in regional and remote areas.
BELOW: AWT plants to recycle industrial wastewater
are more efficient than the alternatives.
diagram). Even when compared to desalinating “salty” groundwater, AWT applied to secondary treatment industrial wastewater usually offers the highest efficiency.
When seawater is delivered to a desalination plant, approximately 65 per cent of the feed is rejected as concentrated brine, leaving 35 per cent as a reusable product. For industrial wastewater, the reject stream usually only amounts to 10 per cent, offering at least 90 per cent recovery.
The efficiency of desalinating ground water varies considerably and depends on the location, the concentration of salt in the aquifer and the presence of naturally occurring elements such as Iron. Ground water recovery rates generally vary from 50-90 per cent.
Our Hydroflux Advanced Water Solutions for direct food contact involve reinjecting recycled water directly into the potable water supply as opposed to supplementing a mains water supply that may or may not be further treated.
Hydroflux systems are fully compliant with the requirements of Food Safe Australia, Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) and any relevant industry regulators. ✷
SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT | March 2020 | Food&Drink business | 45

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