[Focus on initiatives] Recovery of waste water from spas

Comment from Anne-Cécile Fournier, head of the Innovatherm cluster.

The Innovatherm cluster supports spas in their innovation projects. While the projects mainly concern healthcare, the cluster also supports its members in the recovery of spa water. It conducted a study in 2016 on energy recovered from waste water from spas ( Valorisation énergétique des rejets d’eaux thermales - VERTH).
On average, spa waters are at 30°C after they have been used. Recovering this heat provides an opportunity to generate savings, or even a new source of income, and to reduce environmental impacts on several levels (reduced energy and water consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and cooling the water before discharging it into the environment). But the economic value depends on the context and the amount of investments to be made.
On average, spa waters are at 30°C after they have been used


 The VERTH study took the form of a collective action carried out in partnership with ADEME and involving five spas in Auvergne. The first step was for a service provider to carry out a diagnosis on the energy performance of the spas. 

The fatal heat loss of spa waters was studied in particular, but all consumptions were analysed. Following the diagnosis, recommendations were made to set up an internal thermal recovery system and to consider including it in a broader network. This is because urban heating networks can be created in collaboration with local authorities.
The VERTH study raised awareness about the importance of communicating about energy consumption. Customers are taking an interest in this issue. Environmental responsibility is a strong communication argument. To enable everyone involved in spas to benefit from lessons learned through the study, and to support them in their energy recovery strategy, a guide proposing a methodology and feedback from other projects has been published.
In addition, other levers can also be used by spas, particularly in terms of waste management. Plastic films used for mud wraps, for example, can be recycled. Some mud can be reused.
A person taking the waters uses 250 to 900L of water per day, and consumes €15 to €65 of electricity for an 18-day cure. 
(data vary depending on the spa and therapeutic indications - Source: VERTH study). 

Source : ECLAIRA - Newsletter No. 14 / July 2019

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Newsletter edited by CIRIDD - with support from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region


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