09 Dec 2016

Can a dairy operate without water?

A first step towards zero-water dairy, ‘Water Efficient Dairies’ – a project led by DHI with contribution from industry partners – aims to reduce water consumption in the Danish dairy industry.

Just two of the reasons why we need to relook the way water is used in dairies:

  • The supply of milk to dairies has increased substantially since the ending of the EU milk quota regime in April 2015  
  • A report from the Danish Nature Agency has shown that there is a potential for dairies to save 20-30% of their water consumption

Supported by the Danish Nature Agency, Water Efficient Dairies has taken into consideration the size of the dairies as well as food safety, occupational health and environmental conditions. © Jan Brons

Testing technologies and methods during the project
When you try to reduce the water consumption in the dairy industry, you will be challenged by the fact that it is an industry that generally has high water usage, not least for the sake of food safety. The partnership's vision of a zero-water dairy, where the only water source is the water content in the raw material, challenges the common view of the need for water in the dairy industry. It is the project’s aim to create greater synergy between existing solutions and put them into practice to reduce water consumption.

‘We need a broad approach focused on reducing the water consumption on several fronts. It is important to consider all aspects from improved monitoring and management systems to new technological solutions. We hope that our efforts will be a major step towards the zero-water dairy, which certainly can become a reality over time.’ 
– Martin Andersen, Business Development Manager, Department of Industry & Water Technology, DHI

A case story: Thise Dairy is expecting great savings on their water consumption
One of the dairies that have benefited from the partnership is Thise Dairy – the largest organic dairy cooperation in Denmark. In cooperation with Kamstrup, the dairy has installed a large number of water- and heat meters as well as the visualisation tool eButler. These meters have helped identify areas where water is used inappropriately – in real time. A concrete action plan to minimise water use has been developed, and the dairy has invested significantly in new technology for reuse of water – a solution that is expected to reduce the water consumption by up to 40%.

Thise Dairy is on their way to enjoying water savings. © DHI

Besides being in charge of the partnership management, DHI has contributed to the development of methods and tools for:

  • mapping of water and resource flows at the dairies
  • defining water quality requirements in relation to recycling of water 
  • improved water efficiency, risk assessment and implementation of selected solutions

Learn more
For further information, please contact Martin Andersen, Business Development Manager, maa@dhigroup.com