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European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA)
News article22 March 2022European Health and Digital Executive Agency2 min read

World Water Day – 22 March: recycling industrial waters in Horizon 2020 projects

world water day

Today is World Water Day, celebrated annually since 1993.

It aims to inspire action towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Ensure sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme contributes to reaching this goal.

Energy-intensive industries are major users of fresh water, for e.g. processing, washing, diluting, heating, cooling, and transporting products. Since fresh water is a scarce resource, breakthrough innovations are needed in energy-intensive industries to recycle water and create closed loops in industrial processes.

Using closed loops in combination with recovery of energy and/or substances (resources) through the development of integrated water-smart strategies for industrial processes would significantly reduce the use of fresh water. It will also improve water availability in the relevant EU water catchment areas, as outlined in the Water Framework Directive, for other purposes (adjacent communities, farming and bio-based industries). Industrial collaboration offers the potential for energy, water and other resource efficiency at a scale beyond energy intensive industries.

Discover how some of the Horizon 2020 projects managed by HaDEA contribute to a more sustainable use of water in industry:

The Projects

  • iWAYS: The project – Innovative Water recovery Solutions through recycling of heat, materials and water across multiple sectors – will develop a set of technologies and systems for industrial processes in order to recover water and heat, and in some cases materials, from exhaust streams. By using Heat Pipe Condensing Economisers with new materials and special designs capable of operating in peak conditions, iWAYS will allow the development of novel heat exchangers to better withstand the corrosive and high particle loaded exhaust.
  • Waste2Fresh: The project brings an innovative solution to the textile manufacturing industry to address freshwater resource scarcity and industrial water pollution, into the market.  The goal is to increase resource and water efficiency by 30% compared to the current state-of-the-art. Using closed-loop wastewater recycling solution, will considerably reduce industrial water pollution and improve water availability for local communities.
  • AQUASPICE: The project aims at materialising circular water use in the European Process Industries. AQUASPICE takes different approaches: with multiple state-of-the-art water treatment and re-use technologies, with diverse closer-loop practices regarding water, energy and substances, with a cyber-physical-system controller in the form of a system for real-time monitoring, assessment and optimisation of water (re-)use at different interconnected levels and finally with an effective methodological, regulatory and business framework.
  • intelWATT: The project looks at intelligent Water Treatment Technologies for water preservation combined with simultaneous energy production and material recovery in energy intensive industries. The three case studies in electricity production, mining and electroplating facilities will demonstrate water preservation along with energy production and material recovery. The proposed solutions will also target zero liquid discharge while implementing maximum water reuse. For instance, the project aims to recover up to 75 % of chromium and copper and 50 % of nickel, present in effluents, while preserving 65 % of fresh water for reuse.
  • AccelWater: The project’s main objective is to optimise freshwater consumption in the food and beverage industry under a water-waste-energy nexus by introducing beyond state-of-the-art water reclaiming, reusing and Artificial Intelligence enabled monitoring and control technologies. The food and beverage industry consumes 56% of the available water for industrial and urban use.

Relevant link

Water - Environment - European Commission (


Publication date
22 March 2022
European Health and Digital Executive Agency
Programme Sector
  • Industry
  • Horizon Europe
  • Horizon Europe Cluster 4: Industry
  • EUFunded
  • Industrial research
  • Innovation
  • Raw material