Area analysis process water

The area analysis is finished (it was conducted between February and June 2023). 

Read the report (in Swedish)

Industry accounts for about 70% of all water use in Sweden. For the process industry and the bio-based industry, water is one of the most important resources. Efficient water use and water treatment processes in industry are a prerequisite for securing circular water flows and good resource management. Climate change and water shortages mean that prioritising who should have access to water, and how much, will be necessary and increasingly common in the future. 

Upcoming legislation, such as the EU taxonomy and the revised Industrial Emissions Directive, places higher demands on efficient resource use. There is a clear ambition to increase resource efficiency with respect to water, and to create the conditions for increased circularity. 

From a business perspective, industrial water issues represent both challenges and opportunities. Since water use impacts other process aspects such as energy and chemical consumption, water efficiency measures must take this into account. Nonetheless, through a circular perspective and by viewing water management as an integrated part of the main process, with the same requirements for development and optimisation, there is also the potential for synergy benefits from water efficiency measures. 

Project aims and objectives 

The aim is to map the needs and challenges of the bio-based processing industry in terms of industrial water use and treatment. 

The area analysis aims to identify: 

  1. Volume flows, costs and other values related to process water.

2. Opportunities for increased resource efficiency related to industrial water, including the circulation of process water.

3. The requirements necessary to fulfil existing and future legislation, both nationally and internationally.

4. Strategic development needs to achieve points 2 and 3, including a description of how each of the identified development needs specifically relates to particular Agenda 2030 goals.

The work is limited to national processing industries linked to forest biomass and agricultural biomass. Water management in primary production (forestry, agriculture and logistics up to the processing industry’s factory gate) is therefore excluded. 


The work will be carried out through literature studies, statistics and stakeholder dialogues in order to collect enough data for a thorough analysis. 

The area analysis should:

1. Quantitatively, but at a holistic level (nationally aggregated), map Sweden’s industrial incoming water flows in the bio-based processing industries.

a. Identify and describe flows of incoming water (if possible broken down by type of fresh water source, and any intake of recirculated process water).

b. Identify and describe flows of water and its contents leaving the industry (i.e. waste water to the recipient, and other mass flows found in outgoing water and sludge).

c. Identify and describe examples of recirculating flows of water and other resources recovered from water and sludge within the industry.

d. Identify any knowledge gaps that make it difficult to create a complete industrial water balance including associated resources.

2. Identify needs and key factors for efficient industrial water management including where there is a lack of knowledge or good local implementation examples. What can be learnt from international examples?

3. Identify and briefly describe recently implemented and upcoming legislation affecting sustainable management of process water in Swedish bio-based industry.

4. Conduct round table discussions with representatives from the industry, where the identified development needs and the consequences of legislation are discussed and established.

5. Produce a report summarising the survey, and the identified strategic development needs. The emphasis should be on analysing the material collected, and on drawing clear conclusions about the current state of industrial water management in the forestry and food-based processing industry.

6. Together with the Bioinnovation programme office, conduct a seminar for a limited group on how the results should be taken further.

Stakeholder, budget and timetable 

The assignment is carried out by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden between February and June 2023. The project has a total budget of SEK 400,000. 

Steering Committes

Johanna Mossberg – RISE & BioInnovation Team of experts
Hannes Vomhoff – Holmen
Torgny Persson – Swedish Forest Industries
Sverker Danielsson – Chairman, BioInnovation