In the steel sector water management aims at improving the sustainability of the production cycle, resulting in resource efficiency benefits and in reduced water demand and costs. To be reused, water needs to be cooled and desalinized to avoid salt concentration in water circulation systems. The presented work includes two case studies carried out in an integrated steelmaking plant, respectively, to evaluate the possible implementation of ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis to reduce salt concentration in water streams and to investigate, through modelling and simulation, a process integration solution to improve water efficiency. Results showed that most salts are removed by reverse osmosis and that its coupling with ultrafiltration allows obtaining very high quality water; reuse of desalinated wastewater resulted in being more suitable and economically viable than its discharge. Moreover, modelling and simulation showed that the considered blowdown could be reused without significant changes in the receiving water network area. The industrial implementation of water recovery solutions can lead to a decrease of fresh water consumption, effluent discharge, and to improvement of product quality and equipment service life. The considered desalination technologies are transferable and easily implementable, and modelling and simulation are very useful in order to evaluate process modifications before real implementation.
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