We’re very proud to report this news! In April this year, we festively opened the Calcite Factory. The installation, located in Amsterdam’s harbour area, is where a variety of new high-value raw materials and products see the light of day. And they all have one thing in common: they’re all made from calcite pellets, the residual product generated by drinking water softening processes. Our initiative has been nominated as being the most innovative in the Circular Economy category. On 25 September, we’ll be pitching for the final.
One of the factory’s most important products are the pellets that can be reused in the water companies’ own water softening process. As a seeding material, they replace, among others, garnet sand imported from Australia. Moreover, this means that the calcite pellets become sand-free, which opens up the possibility of using them in high-value applications. We thus jointly close this cycle: a globally unique accomplishment.
The origins of this initiative go back six years, when WML experimented with the replacement of its seeding sand with (quarry) calcite. Once this proved successful, a joint TKI project was launched with
Brabant Water, Waternet, WML, KWR and Dunea. Following lab tests at KWR, Waternet demonstrated that calcite pellet seeding material also worked perfectly on a practical scale. What’s more, the crystallisation process was more efficient compared to that of traditional sand, which means decreased seeding needs and sludge production.
An investor and technology provider was found in the British company, Advanced Minerals, and Waternet got to work locally on obtaining the permits, a suitable site, etc. Things then moved quickly. Plant construction began at the end of 2016, and by April this year the factory was a reality.
The factory has been operating very satisfactorily and is already supplying several production sites with new seeding material. Additional drinking water companies want to participate, but a little more time is needed. This is because, following the introduction of seeding calcite at a site, it takes about one hundred days before the released pellets become sand-free. Naturally, we take this into account in the process.
This nomination is a great compliment to all those involved. And their number is too large for them to be named!