The company thereby opens the door to a world market, as the requirements increase for airport operators to manage de-icing liquids and other water waste. The Vilokan group wins the contract to recycle glycol at all Swedavia airports. The company thereby opens the door to a world market, as the requirements increase for airport operators to manage de-icing fluids and other water waste.
Despite de-icing of a single aircraft requiring up to 1,000 litres of glycol, usually with a variety of chemical additives, there are very few airports that manage the fluids. “Propylene glycol requires an enormous amount of oxygen to break down, so this is an environmental problem. In addition, cadmium and other heavy metals can be found in the run-off water/fluid. Therefore, it has become a question of when airports should start collecting this, not if”, says Johan Brandberg from the Vilokan group.
In an international comparison, Sweden has been a pioneer in the field; the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority were active early in developing plans for handling de-icing fluids and other water waste. But in those cases where
de-icing fluids are collected for treatment, in Sweden or abroad, it means almost exclusively that the water is transported by tanker truck for further processing in normal waste water treatment plants.
By contrast, Vilokan’s technology means that both de-icing fluids and other waste water can be treated and recycled locally at the airport. When the technology is offered as a service, it gives the airport operator the opportunity to manage environmentally hazardous waste without tying up capital in its own infrastructure. All in all, the need for heavy transport is eliminated, while at the same time Vilokan can build a business around the glycol, a commodity traded internationally for between SEK 10 – 14 per litre.
“This means that we can set up a facility, treat the water and create profitability in the business by gaining access to the raw material. It becomes a circular economy, and now we want to go out and do this in other countries”, says Johan Brandberg.
The Vilokan group has its head office in Strömstad and has over 25 years’ experience of processing and treating water and solvents.