Efficient use of water: San Isidro and circularity in its processes

Published on Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Waste reuse and new life cycle: the case of San Isidro 

Enel Chile's water management is carrying out different programs to the conservation of basins and ecosystems in all operating territories. Also, Enel Chile's plants' efficiency has improved, optimizing a sustainable use of water resources. San Isidro is an excellent example of our efforts, given its trajectory of adopting different programs for sustainable water use.

Combined cycle plants, such as this one, require water for chilling processes carried out by cooling towers resulting in part of the water resource returned to the atmosphere as steam. At the same time, another converted into liquid industrial waste.

Previously, wastewater was returned to the Aconcagua River, as established in the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA). Processes like the latter remained until a project initiated by the company, which sought to answer the initial question, began to give a new use to wastewater, giving greater sustainability to the water resource cycle.

The benefits of reusing wastewater are multiple, lower use of basin water due to the greater use in the cooling cycle, optimizing internal consumption, and contributing to more rational and efficient use of water in the context of drought in the country and the region. 

Today, thanks to this initiative, San Isidro's cooling system's circularity has increased from 0% to 20%, in the period January to August, using 1,030,062 m3 for other industrial uses.

Thus, this work has allowed the integration of innovation and sustainability for the same purpose, complying with water resources conservation and the plant's technical performance.

Enel has defined five pillars of Circular Economy in its strategy. One of them is "New Life Cycles" and refers to reincorporating material into other processes, either by recycling or reuse, as is the San Isidro plant case, incorporating a circular economy into its operation.

This initiative joins other existing initiatives carried out in union with the community. These are actions and projects focused on sustainable and efficient water resources management to contribute to water availability for different uses in the basin.

Thus, the San Isidro plant represents a business that incorporates innovation and sustainability by applying the circular economy principle, allowing for a harmonious presence in the territory.