A European Union-funded DemoWare initiative project in the water-scarce region of Camp de Tarragona, Spain, utilizes advanced reverse osmosis membranes from Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS). 

Camp de Tarragona’s petrochemical complex and surrounding municipalities face competing water demands across agricultural, industrial and residential markets. The complex handles 19,000 m3 of water per hour and previously used freshwater from the UNESCO-protected Ebro River Basin to power its industrial processes.

The Camp de Tarragona Advanced Water Reclamation Plant treats wastewater from the Spanish cities of Salou, Tarragona and Vilaseca for reuse in the complex’s industrial operations. Dow’s reverse osmosis water treatment solutions help reduce the strain on local freshwater resources. Through a combination of extra fouling resistant membranes and low-energy membranes, the high-quality water produced is fed through a pipeline to various plants within the complex for alternative industrial use. Treated water is produced with 33 percent less pressure.

Out of approximately 30 projects funded by the EU’s DEMOWARE initiative, this is the only project related to industrial water reuse. It aims to serve 90 percent of the complex’s water demand with reclaimed water by 2019.

The ethylene cracker cooling tower at Dow’s Tarragona site now uses up to 40 percent reclaimed water and has reduced its use of chemicals for water treatment by 23 percent, freeing up more than 200 m3 per hour of water rights for the municipality (depending on the season).