Members leading research into new ways to recycle salt


Some industrial processes can produce substantial amounts of wastewater with very high salt concentrations. According to Covestro, this wastewater can represent a problem if not managed correctly and it finds its way into bodies of water, particularly rivers and lakes that are used as drinking water sources. As such, it makes sense to try to not only prevent this but to act in a circular economic way of thinking and harness this wasted resource.

Covestro and partners from industry and academia are searching for new ways to recover such salt and water from industrial wastewater, using this salt and purified wastewater in electrolysis processes to produce chlorine as the industrial production of this essential substance requires three key ingredients; electricity, water and salt!

Not only will this recover these important ingredients but its project coordinator Dr. Yuliya Schiesser, a process researcher at Covestro, believes that waste heat from adjacent production plants could be used to fuel the recovery process!

A demonstration plant is now being prepared to test the concept at Covestro’s Krefeld-Uerdingen site in Germany. In early 2016, the company brought a pilot plant on stream there that uses a recycling process developed in-house to purify salt-laden process wastewater so that it can be reused for the production of chlorine, itself a key raw material for the manufacture of polycarbonate and other modern plastics.

This technology is the basis for the new joint project “Re-Salt” (recycling of salt-laden industrial process water) and involves collaboration with the German Water Center, Donau Carbon GmbH, the University of Duisburg-Essen, Dechema-Forschungsinstitut, Envirochemie GmbH and TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences.

We wish them ‘viel erfolg’ in this fascinating research project!

For more information, please consult the Covestro website.