|"The ECOWAMA project proposes a new eco-efficient closed cycle management model for the treatment of effluents of the metal and plastic surface processing industry. Due to the extremely high level of prices for metals at the global market ECOWAMA’s participants and post-project clients will have strong economic benefits beside the positive environmental impacts of the process."
Dipl.-Ing. Maximilian Kotzur, Project Coordinator
Flow-chart of the ECOWAMA process, demonstrating all relevant process steps and mass flows (click to enlarge).
Effluents of the metal and plastic surface processing industry (STM) wastewater is extensively contaminated with oils and greases, organic loading, a salt fraction and especially with heavy metals (e.g. nickel, copper, zinc and others).
Hence STM enterprises have high interest on efficient, cost-effective and sustainable treatment of their effluents.
ECOWAMA’s approach combines wastewater treatment with recovery of ultrapure water, highly valuable metals and energy. Therefore an environment friendly, effective and innovative system will be developed including electrocoagulation, electrooxidation and electrowinning technologies. Additionally hydrogen produced during electrocoagulation / electrooxidation processes will be used to deal as feed for fuel cells to generate electricity which reduces the energy demand of the overall process. Pre- and post-treatment will be carried out to remove oils/greases and conductivity.
The heavy metals get separated from the wastewater stream through a membrane-based process and a subsequent novel electrowinning process. The outcome of this is a valuable raw material that can be easily sold or reused for STM operations.
ECOWAMA and the circular economy.