Symposium on: Water closed loop in industrial processes iWAYS

Symposium Chairman: Prof. Vassilis Stathopoulos

Energy-intensive industries, such as those involved in processing, washing, diluting, heating, cooling, and transporting products, heavily rely on freshwater. However, freshwater is a limited and valuable resource. Therefore, it is crucial for these industries to implement breakthrough innovations to recycle water and create closed loops in their industrial processes. By doing so, these industries can significantly reduce their freshwater consumption and enhance water availability in relevant EU water catchment areas.

IWAYS: Revolutionizing Water, Energy and Material Efficiency by valorising challenging exhaust streams

Gaseous emissions from industrial processes are an unexploited source of water, energy and materials as they represent one of the main streams that discharges used water during the manufacturing of ceramics, chemical products, steel, food, paper pulp, aluminium and other industrial goods.

The iWAYS project – Innovative WAter recoverY Solutions,– is developing a set of technologies and systems for industrial processes in order to recover water and heat, and in some cases materials, from exhaust streams with the aim of reducing resource consumption, harmful emissions and increasing energy efficiency.

Prof. Hussam Jouhara is the Scientific and Technical Director of the iWAYS project and developer of the Heat Pipe Condensing Economisers (HPCE) which, together with other innovative iWAYS technologies (described below) and closed loop systems, are currently being implemented in three different countries (Italy, Spain and Sweden) and industrial sectors (ceramicchemical and steel) in an effort to support the climate goals set out in the the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan.

iWAYS Solutions

Heat Pipe Condensing Economisers (HPCE)

Common Heat Exchangers faces several challenges in industrial applications due to the corrosive nature of exhaust and fouling occurring on pipes (particulates or suspensions that settle onto surfaces). The fouling, caused by solid particles and other contaminants in exhaust gases, can be mitigated by Heat Pipe Condensing Economisers (HPCEs) with the appropriated design and by coatings and/or surface post treatment.

HPCEs are constructed as a box containing Heat Pipes placed in a defined arrangement. A heat pipe is a sealed tube containing a saturated working fluid. When heat is applied on the lower section, a corresponding quantity of the working fluid vaporises. This vapour travels to the condenser section where it condenses on its internal surface, releasing the latent heat of vaporisation to the condenser section and through its wall to the heat sink fluid. This two-phase heat transfer process allows for a superior control of surface temperatures which is a crucial element of fouling, corrosion and condensation management; which cannot be achieved with traditional heat exchangers’ designs.

Through the use of HPCEs with new materials and special designs capable of operating in peak conditions, iWAYS differentiates itself from other projects in the field and foster the development of novel heat exchangers to better withstand the corrosive and high particle loaded exhaust.

The project will exploit two main HPCE applications:

a) recovery of water vapor generated during moisture removal processes and

b) water recovery from combustion.


Sensors will be deployed to accurately report on the qualitative and quantitative attributes of sustainable water sources. The type and quality of the sensors will be determined according to the demand and nature of the demo cases and its water loops, as well as the cost, effectiveness and the reliability of the solutions. State of the art sensors and actuators will be deployed in industrial processes that currently are not monitored.

Decision-Support Systems

Real-time Decision-Support Systems (DSS) enable operators to evaluate the future management of hydraulic structures. The iWAYS project will develop a flexible process monitoring, control and optimisation dashboard for evidence-based decision making. A software platform with improved 3D visualisation and data analytics will be developed. The DSS will serve as a basis for full-scale implementation of the selected measures in real conditions.

Water treatment systems

Versatile and advanced water treatment systems will be used for industrial waste streams, recovering resources and materials. iWAYS aims to purify steam condensates that are currently considered as impossible or not cost-effective. As water vapour will be condensed, treated and reused as process water, water efficiency will be greatly improved, leading up to 95% water recovery. The water treatment systems will rely on reverse osmosis, an integrated photocatalysisnanofiltration process, membrane distillation and evaporator crystallizer as key components.

Expected Impact

iWAYS will find ways to reduce, recover and reutilize gaseous, liquid and solid waste leading to the following impacts:

  1. Up to 60% less freshwater resources used.
  2. Introducing water closed loop in industrial processes – recover water from the gaseous waste stream of the ceramics, chemicals and steel industries.
  3. 30% water and heat recovery from humid exhaust and recuperation of materials from the flue stream.
  4. 30% increase in resource and water efficiency.
  5. Major innovation outcomes disseminated to the current and next generation of employees.
  6. The environmental gains in absolute figures, and weighted against EU and global environmental footprints.
  7. The planned replicability study will show that this technology can be applied to a large number of industrial processes.

The iWAYS ambition is to contribute to a future where industry is sustainable and green. This will require advances in several fields. Each one of these innovations will benefit not only European industry but also society at large.

Symposium on: Water closed loop in industrial processes iWAYS

Chaired by Prof. Vassilis Stathopoulos, the symposium on Water Closed Loop in Industrial Processes will bring together experts, researchers, and industry professionals who are interested in sustainable industrial processes that minimize water use and waste and provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about the latest developments in water closed loop technologies and to exchange ideas with fellow experts and peers in the field.

The symposium will feature presentations from the iWAYS project partners, as well as invited speakers from academia and industry. The presentations will cover topics such as the design and implementation of the iWAYS solutions, the recovery of material by valorising challenging exhaust streams, the project’s impact on water and resource efficiency and the project’s digital approach, using concrete examples drawn from the project’s demo cases in the ceramic, chemical, and steel industries.

Materials and material science plays an important role in the project. On the one hand new materials and coatings are being  developed to protect the condenser surface (inside HPCEs) from corrosion, minimizing the effects on the heat transfer, on the other the iWAYS systems will allow the removal of elements in the exhaust gases / water, like Boron, VOCs, and acid gases (HF, SOx, NOx, HCl).

The symposium will also discuss the European Commission’s legislative proposal for mandatory water efficiency assessments for industry, in line with the European Green Deal, the Digitalisation of Europe, and its strategies such as the Fit for 55 strategy, the Zero Pollution Strategy, and the Circular Economy Action Plan. The iWAYS project, with its water-smart approach, is particularly valuable in this context and can provide insights and solutions for other industries to follow.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the latest iWAYS developments in water closed loop technologies and to exchange ideas with experts and peers in the field.

About the symposium chairman

Prof. V.N. Stathopoulos received his PhD in Chemistry and in the last 22 years has worked in both academic and private sector including Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, University of Ioannina and Ceramics and Refractories Company CERECO SA. (currently MIRTEC S.A.) as founding Manager of Environmental Department.

Today is a Professor in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, head of Laboratory of Chemistry and Materials Technology. For the years 2018-2022 Prof Stathopoulos has been a Visiting Professor/Researcher in the University of Cyprus, Heterogeneous Catalysis Laboratory. He is the Vice Chair of the Research and Innovation Council of the Region of Central Greece (Sterea Ellada) since 2018 as well as Board Member and Secretary (2018) of Hellenic Ceramics Society.

About the iWAYS Scientific and Technical Director

Having worked in academia and the industry, Professor Hussam Jouhara has unique expertise in working on applied heat exchangers and energy-related research activities with direct support from research councils and various UK and international industrial partners. He has extensive expertise in designing and manufacturing various types of heat exchangers, including heat pipes and heat pipe-based heat exchangers for low, medium and high temperature applications. His work in the field of heat pipe based heat exchangers resulted in novel designs for recouperators, steam generators & condensers and flat heat pipes.

These have been implemented across various industries including, but not limited to: food, electronics thermal management and low to high industrial waste heat recovery and Energy from Waste. Over the last few years, he has successfully managed to achieve new designs for industrial waste heat recovery and many thermal systems that have enhanced the performance of various industrials processes in the UK, Europe and world-wide. He is also an elected member of the Senate of Brunel University London.

Throughout his academic and industrial career, he received over £12.2M research funding from various UK/EU based research councils (RCUK & EU H2020) and from British and European industrial partners. He is a published author of academic books with many filed patents in areas related to heat pipes engineering and manufacturing and Energy from Waste systems. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of both Engineers Ireland (Ireland) and IMechE (UK).

Prof. Hussam Jouhara is the Scientific and Technical Director of the iWAYS project, and also founder and the Head of the Heat Pipe and Thermal Management Research Group in Brunel University London, who developed the HPCE for the three different use cases.

About the iWAYS Coordinator

Prof. Luca Montorsi holds a MSc in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD Degree in Material Engineering from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. He is currently Professor of Energy Conversion Systems and Environment Protection Systems at the Department of Sciences and Methods for Engineering of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

His main research interests are the CFD analysis of hydraulic components and systems with attention to the numerical simulation of energy conversion systems and components. He worked also in the development of numerical tools for the analysis of energy conversion systems from biomass and waste and the investigation of new concepts of ULEV and ZEV co-Generation systems.

He is also the deputy director of the Interdipartimental Center INTERMECH Mo. Re., which is a Centre for Applied Research and Services in the Advanced Mechanics and Motor Engineering Sector of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

Prof. Luca Montorsi is the Coordinator of the iWAYS project

About the iWAYS Communication partner

Elmar Bartlmae studied Physics (BSc) and Science Communication (MSc) in London before embarking on a career in television in Germany. In 2006 Elmar created Leonardo Film, an award-winning film production company specializing in in stories about science and technology.

In 2016, Elmar co-founded the European Science Communication Institute (ESCI) to support scientists to communicate about their research.  This activity expanded rapidly, and so far the organization has acquired more than € 12M in funding for their mission to bridge the gap between science and society. Elmar is now leading a team of 25+ communication experts who support more than 30 international research projects on a wide variety of topics, including agriculture, medicine, thermal physics and artificial intelligence. iWAYS is one of ESCI’s flagship projects.