CleanSmoke reduces water consumption by around 90 percent

Water levels in rivers and lakes continue to drop, forest fires rage. Rain falls only regionally, if at all – Germany and large parts of Europe are suffering the consequences of the ongoing drought. To protect natural water resources, the German government presented the draft for a National Water Strategy last year. According to this, standards for water supply concepts and concepts for water-efficient use are to be established for all sectors. Food producers can also make a significant contribution to this.

“With the CleanSmoke smoking process, smokehouses, as well as retailers and customers, can reduce water consumption very easily and noticeably,” says Uwe Vogel, chairman of the CleanSmoke Coalition, a joint initiative of primary smoke product manufacturers, food producers and retailers. Up to 90 percent of water can be saved by using the process.

CleanSmoke uses less than one-seventh the water

CleanSmoke is smoke freshly produced from primary smoke condensate. Smokehouses using the CleanSmoke process consume about 37 liters of water for cleaning their equipment per ton of food smoked, according to a life cycle assessment by the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL). Indirect water consumption for plant growth and logging is about seven liters. Conventional smoking with friction or smoldering smoke still uses 301 liters of water per ton of meat for cleaning and about 38 liters for tree growth and harvesting, according to the DIL.

If all smokehouses in Germany were to work with CleanSmoke, the consumption would be around 66,000 cubic meters (m3) of water for cleaning the smokehouses, according to the DIL, a good 15 percent of which is used for raw material production. Indirect consumption for irrigation, on the other hand, is relatively low at 6,800 m3.

Saving Kiel’s annual water consumption

In conventional smoking, both direct consumption for cleaning and indirect consumption for plant irrigation are significantly greater, at 545,000 and just under 357,000 m3 respectively. So, according to DIL, CleanSmoke could save 479,000 m3 of water in cleaning the smoking plants alone. This corresponds to the annual consumption of large cities such as Kiel or Gelsenkirchen.

In addition, another 350,000 m3 of water could be saved within the supply chain. This is how much is needed to produce cotton for jeans and T-shirts for 35,000 people. Not least because of its overall very high environmental relevance, the European Union has named CleanSmoke “Best Available Technique” for food production.

2,600 metric tons less cleaning agent per year in wastewater

The use of the innovative smoking process not only reduces the burden on water resources, but also on wastewater treatment. This is because fewer cleaning agents and chemicals are used, which can make a noticeable contribution to better water quality. Studies in Denmark have shown that a smokehouse with about 100 tons of weekly production uses about 15 percent less cleaning agent. Every year, 2,600 tons less cleaning agents and 40 tons less chemicals would have to be used in Germany alone. This also reduces the cost of purification and saves municipalities immense expenses for water treatment.

Saving water must be given top priority
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