Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies - SPIRE - AquaSPICE



The AquaSPICE project is a large H2020 EU project with 11M Euro funding and 28 partners coordinated by RWTH Aachen University. The project started in December 2020 and has a duration of 3.5 years. AquaSPICE aims to reduce the industrial water demand and losses, to treat and recycle water as well as exploit alternative water sources. Attention is given to digitalization, online monitoring, digital twins and water cyber-physical systems. There are 6 demo industrial sites where AquaSPICE solutions will be demonstrated.

Project description

AquaSPICE aims at materializing circular water use in the European Process Industries, fostering awareness in resource efficiency and delivering compact solutions for industrial applications. That challenging aim necessitates (i) multiple state-of-the-art water treatment and re-use technologies, (ii) diverse closer-loop practices regarding water, energy and substances, (iii) a cyber-physical-system controller in the form of a system for real-time monitoring, assessment and optimization of water (re-)use at different interconnected levels and (iv) an effective methodological, regulatory and business framework.

AquaSPICE not only offers these but claims their sufficiency, as also supported by the breadth of European process industries who are here to evaluate (i)-(iv). AquaSPICE’s innovations emanate from the requirements of 6 Case Studies, involving 8 industrial actors (Dow, BASF, Water-Link, Solvay, ARETUSA, Agricola, JEMS and TUPRAS) in 6 EU countries (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Slovenia and Romania) and 1 associated country (Turkey).

AquaSPICE follows a systemic approach in water management where optimal efficiency can be achieved through an adaptation of appropriate technologies and practices in different levels, from a single industrial process (unit operation) to an entire factory, to other collaborating industries (industrial symbiosis) or other sectors (e.g. domestic and/or agriculture).

AquaSPICE enables and facilitates the immediate uptake, replication and up-scaling of innovations, by providing comprehensive strategic, business and organizational plans that offer a range of well-defined and pre-packaged solutions, suitable for various cases with quite different characteristics.


These are the objectives of AquaSPICE:

  • Reduce water demand
  • Reduce or recover water losses
  • Treat and recycle water
  • Exploit alternative water sources

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University will provide and operate the IMPROVED water treatment pilots at 3 of the industrial testing sites – Dow Terneuzen (NL), BASF Antewerp (BE) and Dow Beuhlen (DE). Additionally, Ghent University will provide knowledge in terms of industrial water treatment. Ghent University will also provide modelling and simulation of industrial closed cooling loops as well as key water treatment technologies.




Prof. Arne Verliefde
Department of Green Chemistry and Technology
Phone number: +32 (0)9 264 60 02