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The Sotrefi and H2O team together during maintenance in front of the VACUDEST XL 16,000 CC vacuum evaporation system.


Sotrefi cuts energy costs enormously: Sustainable VACUDEST vaporiser ensures better  efficiency



At the Etupes site near Montbéliard, Sotrefi manages hazardous waste from companies in the region specialised in water/hydrocarbon mixtures.


Sotrefi offers complete and safe pollution treatment for this hazardous industrial waste, which mainly comes from the automotive, mechanical engineering, watchmaking and precision engineering industries. In addition to numerous other treatment methods, an outdated evaporator also treats the wastewater. This was now to be replaced by a modern system that enables high treatment quality, less maintenance and higher efficiency through savings in energy and operating costs. The experts for wastewater-free production at H2O took on this challenge.


Sotrefi is part of the Séché Environnement group, which has been an expert in circular economy, hazard control and environmental services for over 35 years. Sotrefi manages hazardous waste for companies. It treats 30,000 cubic metres of industrial wastewater every year. 

  • Séche Group: represented in 15 countries, 120 branches close to customers, 50 industrial sites in France 
  • Sotrefi: 18 employees at the Montbeliard site, customers from the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, the watchmaking industry and micromechanics.  
  • VACUDEST site: SOTREFI Montbéliard / Etupes 

What our customer says 

The H2O GmbH team works very precisely and reliably. They provided us with professional support from implementation to commissioning.


Initial situation 

Sotrefi uses numerous technologies to treat its collected wastewater, such as chemical-physical treatment, centrifugation and a biological station. The evaporator is a central element of the treatment chain. Sotrefi previously used an outdated evaporator that was heated by a gas boiler. This was to be replaced by a new system with better and, above all, more economical technology.

The requirements: good quality of the treated water and considerable savings in terms of ease of maintenance and energy consumption. 

The solution 

H2O GmbH in Steinen, a leading manufacturer of industrial vacuum evaporators, took a close look at Sotrefi's requirements. 
Vacuum evaporators are based on the simple principle of separating impurities based on their different boiling points. All substances with a boiling point above that of water remain in the evaporation residue. These include salts, of course, but also hydrocarbons. 

Evaporation in vacuum distillation systems is particularly energy efficient because the sophisticated energy recycling process means that 95 % of the energy consumed is fed back into the evaporator and used to evaporate the incoming wastewater. This creates an energy cycle. This energy saving is particularly effective for the ecological footprint in the case of high processing capacities - such as at Sotrefi, which processes a quantity of 50 metres of3 in the evaporator every day. 

Why did SOTREFI decide in favour of this preparation system? 

1. High quality of treatment
The VACUDEST technology with its innovations, which are unique on the market, enables a particularly high treatment quality and therefore largely fulfils the requirements for final treatment in a biological plant. The Clearcat option shows its strengths here with wastewater from very different sources. This patented technology, which is integrated into the evaporator, guarantees a clear distillate that is practically free of HCT. The COD values are reduced by up to 97 % so that the treated water is of very high quality. 


2.    Space-saving "all-in-one" solution
In order to perfectly control the evaporation process with these waters of different origins, the pH value of the wastewater must be stabilised.  The Destcontrol technology integrated into the evaporator measures the pH value in the distillate and doses the alkaline agent directly into the evaporator to adjust the pH value. Continuous neutralisation upstream of the evaporator is therefore no longer necessary, which in turn saves space. 

3.    A chemical pre-treatment step is not required. 
Thanks to its design and automatic cleaning devices, the vaporiser no longer requires a pre-treatment step. The use of chemicals and their handling has been completely eliminated. Only oil removal is still required. This results in savings in time, chemicals and additional space. 

4.    Very high energy savings 
Thanks to its heat recovery system, VACUDEST technology enables low electricity consumption per cubic metre treated. Changing the energy source by removing the gas boiler and the associated peripherals, such as the cooling tower, enables a significant reduction in energy losses. This is fully in line with the objectives of the energy transition. 

5.    Satisfaction with the service 
Sotrefi appreciated the H2O service even before purchasing the VACUDEST. The site's operations managers had already learnt to appreciate the pre- and post-processing work of the pilot plant that had been set up to validate the new process. "So, we were already very familiar with H2O's service. This was also one of the reasons why we chose this company." 

The experts at H2O were involved in the planning of the project right from the start. In collaboration with the Sotrefi team, H2O was able to fulfil all requirements, including integration into existing networks and the implementation of a very space-saving solution. 
Due to the high treatment capacity, a large storage volume was required for the wastewater. The existing tanks could simply be reused here.



Where other processing methods require a lot of space, our VACUDEST technology impresses with efficiency in the smallest of spaces. This gives you more space in production for more important things.

Fully automatic

Our solutions operate fully automatically, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The intuitive control system allows easy access, so even the weekly system check is done quickly.


Our high-quality systems require hardly any manpower, save operating resources, and reduce disposal costs enormously. Therefore, our systems often pay for themselves in less than 2 years. After that, you save up to 10 million euros in 10 years.



SotrefiI is delighted with H2O's commitment: "The project was carried out perfectly by H2O in close collaboration with Sotrefi's site managers. The work was precise and reliable." 
The Vacutouch controller's monitoring and data recording system enables continuous control of operating parameters and, above all, tracking of the economic balance with energy consumption, concentration rates and total cost of ownership. 

"After more than three years of operation, we are almost in line with the announced projections. Of course, energy costs have risen in the meantime, but by investing in this sustainable wastewater treatment system, we have been able to greatly reduce the price impact," confirms Marie-Laure Verbeyst, the site manager. 


The advantages of Sotrefi at a glance: 

  • A significant simplification of the overall process. Elimination of chemical pre-treatment
  • High processing capacity with the VACUDEST XL 16,000 CC vaporiser with greatly reduced energy costs.  
  • The automatic cleaning options of the VACUDEST replace the time-consuming manual cleaning work on the old system. 
  • Centralised control of the entire system by H2O and precise control of operating data and costs.  


E-Service - Remote access to the VACUDEST 

Sotrefi benefits from H2O's innovative e-service. This remote access to the Vacutouch machine's control system enables H2O service specialists to gain a comprehensive picture of the situation on site and thus provide fast and competent assistance. As a result, more than 80 % of all unscheduled on-site visits by service technicians that were previously required are avoided. Downtimes are reduced, system availability is increased, and costs are lowered. 

Find out more about our E-Service





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