Sustainable Engineering

The Water Footprint Method in Manufacturing - Methods, Tools and Strategies for Optimization

Project description

Humanity is becoming more and more aware of its dependence on nature and its resources. In this context, water is an irreplaceable resource that requires a high degree of responsibility in terms of use and consumption. The manufacturing industry, along with other branches, plays a special role. The reduction of water consumption, the recycling of water and the treatment of wastewater represent proven strategies in sustainable production. Nonetheless, these strategies do not take into account that 95% of the water is consumed along the supply chain. The water footprint method can help to implement more efficient optimization strategies, as it takes into account water consumption along the life cycle of products and analyzes the resulting local effects.

Even if the water footprint methodology has developed significantly in recent years, there are still some methodological and practical challenges. These relate, for example, to the regionalization of water balance data, the implementation of advanced water accounting and the modeling of effects on the impact endpoints human health and ecosystem quality. Furthermore, effective tools are required to establish the methodology in daily professional practice and to simplify decisions.

This project aims to address the existing practical and methodological challenges. This is to be achieved through new methods, as well as a user-friendly tool to be created for the manufacturing industry. At the inventory level, a regionalized water database and a new method for water accounting is provided. The last point is to consider the fate of evaporated water beyond the boundaries of the water catchment area. For impact assessment, advanced methods for assessing impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and human health are integrated into the tool. Finally, the implementation and applicability of the created tool and the developed methods are tested in case studies.

Project duration: January 2018 - December 2020

M.Sc. Andreas Link

Room Z 210
Phone: +49 (0)30/ 314 – 26713
Fax: +49 (0)30/ 314 - 21720

Dr.-Ing. Markus Berger (Project management)
Room Z 202
Phone: +49 (0)30 314-25084
Fax +49 (0)30 314-21720
E-mail: markus.berger(at)