The most important resource for the food industry
Water ist the most important resource being used in the food industry. It's used as a raw material, a heat-transfer medium or for mass separation (extraction, washing, stripping a.o.). Membrane systems for reuse and recycling play a crucial role int water networks. Membrane systems are historically located in the fresh water and/or wastewater section of a food company. However, there are overseen options for using them close in the production (point-of-use water recovery). The food industry is confronted with an increasing complex situation with regard to water consumption. The supply of freshwater has significantly reduced and its cost has suffered increases in the past few years. Shortages and quality has limited the production of foodstuffs, and the growth of the industrial sector in some countries. This impact is due to water shortage, and it will increase in the coming years, affecting the industrial sector around the world.
Some processing wastewater streams are particularly interesting for reuse in industry. Examples:
Using treated process wastewater in direct contact with a food product is not possible. Food manufacturers reuse treated process wastewater not in contact with food. The industry’s challenge is to find solutions so that treated process wastewater from a food factory can be processed to a quality that is of a higher (or at least equal quality) as the municipal drinking water.
Reclaimed Water is previously used water that has been treated for reuse but has not yet been put to another use. Once reclaimed water is put to some purpose it is referred to as recycled or reused water.