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EPC-Eqtech, the project led by Cetaqua Barcelona that promotes energy efficiency, low water use, protection of water resources and CO2 reduction.

An economic and sustainable solution for processing spent soda in refineries

• El proyecto de investigación europeo EPC-EqTech, financiado por el programa Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), validará una tecnología sostenible para procesar la sosa gastada a bajo coste y de acuerdo con la legalidad vigente

• Cetaqua, Centro Tecnológico del Agua, liderará esta iniciativa, que contará con la participación de Aquatec, Tüpraş y DEKRA

Spent caustic is a highly toxic by-product present in wastewater from petrochemical industries. This substance is difficult to process, as current treatment solutions are either unable to meet current regulations or are very costly. For this reason, it is necessary to advance in solutions to eliminate the reserves of this dangerous waste accumulated in the refineries in a viable way.

Faced with this situation, Cetaqua, Water Technology Center, and Aquatec, part of the Agbar Group, have been developing, since 2016, an innovative solution under the name EPC-EqTech. This technique combines electrochemical technologies to create a plant capable of processing spent caustic at a low cost and within legal parameters.

To finalize its development and accelerate its deployment on the market, a project funded by the European Commission under the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) program has recently been launched. The initiative, also named EPC-EqTech, will last two years and has a total of €3.3 million to solve this challenge in the industry and save refineries across Europe around €2.4 billion compared to other modern treatments by processing spent soda in situ with highly cost-effective and efficient technology.

Along with Cetaqua and Aquatec, Turkey’s largest industrial company Tüpraş, at one of the refineries where the pilot plant will be located, and the French branch of the global safety company DEKRA, which will be in charge of material selection and the study regarding specific safety standards, are also participating in this initiative. This consortium provides the technical expertise and commercial position necessary to finalize the development of this technology, establish different business models for scaling it up to other refineries and thus facilitate its entry into the market.

Scientific knowledge and industry expertise to combat climate change

Climate change forces us to reconsider how to protect water resources and the environment. Cetaqua and Aquatec seek to respond to this global challenge with a solution that promotes energy efficiency, low water use, protection of water resources and CO2 reduction.

The scientific knowledge provided by the Water Technology Center for the development of solutions that guarantee the sustainability and efficiency of the integral water cycle, together with Aquatec’s experience in the design, construction and operation of industrial wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), including their energy and waste management, will bring Europe’s desired transition towards decarbonization a step closer every day.