Water economising in Elkem Carbon

Efforts are on-going at all Elkem Carbon plants worldwide to reduce the amount of water used in production. Plants located in areas where water is a critical resource have special focus on water economisation. 

Elkem Carbon is using water for cooling the products, but also to cool down technical equipment like transformers, high temperature furnace processes and rotating equipment like ball mills for generation of fine materials. These systems do not imply any contamination of the water.

Elkem Ferroveld, South Africa, has up-graded the closed loop cooling system with state of the art sensors and controlling systems. The pipelines are replaced to ensure safe operation of the control instruments. The water is circulating through closed systems with cooling panels and heat exchangers made of steel. The temperature of the water will increase and the pass through separate coolers. Air coolers gives a loss of water by evaporation, but the water loss is significantly reduced compared to previous open and free-flow coolers.

The plant in the Ningxia Province in China, close to the Gobi Desert, is now connected to the public water supply, ensuring the required water quality needed for the cooling process. Water at this plant was previously taken from ground water wells, which required more maintenance due to contamination and corrosion of the water pipelines.

This article was first published in Elkem’s sustainability report 2016.