Water shortages 'should spark cooling conversations'


03 May 2023

As climate change-related water shortages across Europe cause governments to take action, a process industry expert is highlighting the knock-on effect to manufacturers reliant on waterways for cooling processes.

Matt Watson, sector lead for manufacturing at Aggreko Europe, believes the rise in extreme weather across the continent may require a rethink in equipment procurement strategies. Specifically, he is calling for manufacturers to explore closed loop cooling solutions that do not take water from nearby communities.

“Water from riverways is vital to many manufacturers’ existing cooling processes but climate-related news across the continent is leading to a situation where this precious resource may become increasingly scarce,” Watson explains.

News from Germany, Italy, Spain and France about governments enacting water preservation measures is something the continent’s manufacturers should watch with interest, especially ahead of the hot summer months.

“Consequently, manufacturing sites currently reliant on local water bodies for cooling purposes should look to adjust their processes accordingly to reduce river water use. By implementing closed loop systems that do not require as much use and subsequent cooling of water, manufacturers could mitigate costly drought-related issues that might result in expensive site disruption and shutdowns.”

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With water scarcity expected to be a major concern across the continent, manufacturers are said to be increasingly considering hire-based equipment procurement strategies to address weather-based uncertainty without limiting purchasing power.

According to Watson, consulting with temporary suppliers capable of providing closed loop cooling systems promptly in response to water shortages is a vital first and incremental step to ensuring a site’s continued smooth running.

“The pressure to do more with less continues to affect all industries, including the manufacturing sector,” he concludes.

“As such, the business case for purchasing expensive, permanent equipment to address something as changeable as the weather may be inadvisable with costs being so closely monitored.

“By contrast, options such as hire from Europe-wide suppliers could provide these manufacturers with the dynamism they need to maintain site productivity. I would therefore advise relevant stakeholders consult with relevant experts from organisations such as Aggreko, which have the Europe-wide expertise and reach to help mitigate these concerns.”