Biobased chemicals for water treatment

Biobased chemicals for water treatment

Petrochemical chemicals that are generally in use for water treatment are toxic and non-biodegradable. Moreover, they are difficult to remove from the water; if they end up in the environment via the surface water, they can cause significant environmental damage. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops high-performance, environmentally friendly nature-based chemicals as fully suitable alternatives for petrochemicals. Our commitment is that these biobased chemicals are cost effective.

Environmentally friendly water treatment

Industrial companies, including food companies, use large amounts of water for processing, heating and cooling. To make water fit for this purpose, chemicals are added. Examples of this are zinc compounds, polyacrylates, phosphonates, phosphates, polyacrylamides and alkoxylates. These types of chemicals prevent corrosion, hardness deposition and pollution in the water system. To stop the growth of microorganisms also large amounts of biocides are being used. The major drawback of all these substances is that they are toxic, mostly non-degradable and very difficult to remove from the water. As a result, they can lead to significant environmental damage. Companies want to replace these chemicals by sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives, on condition that they work at least as well and are cost-efficient.

Valuable chemicals derived from biomass

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has extensive experience with the development of biodegradable and sustainable substances that inhibit corrosion, prevent scale and remove pollution. We use various types of biomass waste and side streams as raw materials for these chemicals. We convert building blocks from these streams into valuable and safe biodegradable chemicals that are fully-fledged alternatives to the conventional petrochemical compounds. When these biobased chemicals end up in surface water, they do not cause any environmental damage. By replacing fossil feedstocks by biobased resources, we also effectuate the transition towards a circular and biobased economy and therewith reduce CO2 emissions and climate change. Another advantage of using nature-based agents is that they sometimes perform better and more efficiently than petrochemicals. Consequently, less maintenance is required. In controlling growth of microorganisms we also have extensive technological knowledge on the electrochemical production of biocidal reactants, to decrease their environmental impact.

From dish washing products to biobased flocculants

Previous projects of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research have shown that it is technically possible to improve the performance of dishwasher products by replacing petrochemical polyacrylates with biobased alternatives. We gratefully make use of these insights to improve the functioning of water treatment products and make them more sustainable. In addition, we work together with producers and end users on the replacement of synthetic flocculants by nature-based polymers. These polymers bind harmful substances efficiently, making them easier to remove from the water.

More information

Are you looking for effective biobased chemicals for water treatment? Together with you we are happy to map out possible solutions for your company.