Column: Georg Stockinger
Sr. Water Treatment and Integration Technologist at Shell Global Solutions International B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Creating value from waste streams
According to the European Parliament, the circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.
On the water-front, one of the “circular” sites Shell operates is the Pearl Gas to Liquids facility in Ras Laffan, Qatar. Here we have learned that, technically, you can recycle on an industrial scale. However, every circular system also produces byproducts. Without these “bleed streams” any contaminant will build-up over time to create a technical and environmental issue, forming a challenge to designing and operating circular systems.
Two of these products are a brine stream from our water recovery systems and biosludge from the biological treatment plant. While these represent only a fraction of the overall mass flow, Shell is trying to reuse these. ETE is helping us investigate the opportunities within the AquaConnect project by evaluating the risks and mitigations of applying industrial biosludge and treated effluent in agriculture, modeling the fate of the different constituents in soil, groundwater and Plant material. Reuse of brine will be investigated further.