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ORLEN invests in new circular economy project

Polish energy company PKN ORLEN is implementing a new Blue Bridge project. In line with the circular economy concept, the project is designed to enable a 25 per cent reduction in the amount of water from the Vistula River to support industrial processes of the company’s Production Plant in Płock, located in central Poland. It is scheduled to begin operation in 2025.

Together with its project partner Wodociągi Płockie, the local water utility company, PKN ORLEN has signed a letter of intent with the State Water Management Agency PGW Wody Polskie confirming plans for the construction of a recycling system for wastewater streams coming from the municipal treatment plant for reuse by PKN ORLEN.

“We run a modern and sustainable business. We take advantage of all opportunities offered by the EU’s environmental regulations,” said Józef Węgrecki, Member of the PKN ORLEN Management Board, Operations. “In accordance with our strategy, we effectively promote a circular economy, making investments designed to boost our competitive strength while delivering environmental benefits. Our innovative Blue Bridge project, to be developed jointly with partners, will help protect water resources through industrial reuse of treated wastewater in our plant, making a significant contribution to improving water quality.”

Blue Bridge will involve secondary treatment to further purify wastewater streams coming from the treatment plant operated by Wodociągi Płockie until they achieve the quality of water and their subsequent reuse at PKN ORLEN’s Production Plant in Płock, located about 5 km from the wastewater discharge point. This would allow the company to reduce the amount of water taken from the Vistula River for the plant’s industrial operations by around 25 per cent.

At the current stage, work is underway on the project plan and spatial concept including tests at a pilot station. The results and their analysis will be the basis for designing the recycling system for treated wastewater streams. This process will also help to ensure that the recycled water is safely transported to the company’s intake point.

“Our role as the State Water Management Agency is not only to ensure the security and good condition of Poland’s water resources but also to support ideas and innovations that advance these very goals,” added Krzysztof Woś, President of the State Water Management Agency PGW Wody Polskie. “Water resources across the European Union have come under increasing pressure, leading to water scarcity and poorer quality. In particular, factors such as climate change, unpredictable weather events and droughts are severely impacting the availability of freshwater due to urban and agricultural development.”

“Water is a finite resource and the problem of water scarcity is already beginning to affect some areas of our country,” he continued. “Having forged a symbiotic partnership with industry, Płock will be the first city in Poland to close the loop in water management. The closed-loop economy project fits in with the key goals of the New Green Deal, and its benefits are plain to see.”

PKN ORLEN, Wodociągi Płockie and PGW Wody Polskie have devised long-term strategies which prioritise the objective to develop water and wastewater management in reliance on technologies that can reduce water abstraction.

“We are happy to be engaged, together with our partners, in projects contributing to the conservation of water resources,” stated Andrzej Wiśniewski, President of Wodociągi Płockie.”The Vistula River is a valuable source of water, used in our city for drinking, recreation and industrial purposes. The innovative project we are pursuing in partnership with PKN ORLEN is an example of how business and environmental protection can be reconciled. We hope other cities and companies will follow suit. The environment and water resources are priceless assets we should preserve for ourselves and future generations.”

In addition, Blue Bridge will contribute to improving the biodiversity and general amenity of areas adjacent to the Vistula River and lowering the water and environmental footprints in Płock.

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