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Effuent Treatment

Wealth Creation from Waste With Zero DischargeTechnologies

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

WOOW Technologies: Generating profits from industrial wastewaters
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WOOW Technologies: Generating profits from industrial wastewaters (Picture: Geist)

Valuable chemicals in waste aqueous streams often go down the drain as treatment of effluent has always been considered a cost. However, with the advent of new technologies today, it is possible to cost-effectively recover chemicals from effluents in a pure form that can be recycled to reap huge gains.

Generation of waste streams has been the endemic curse of the chemical manufacturing industry. The reasons could vary from bad chemistry and sub-optimal process engineering and design to inefficient operations. The end results are the same and the chemical industry contributes to pollution on a large scale.

Environmental (E) factor

The waste produced by every segment in the chemical sector differs as per the annual production and various other factors. The E-factor is calculated in terms of waste (kg) / product (kg). Refer Table 1. The focus so far has been on abatement of pollution and treatment of effluent streams.

Valuable chemicals in waste aqueous streams often go down the drain as treatment of effluent has always been considered a cost. However, with the advent of new technologies today, it is possible to cost-effectively recover chemicals from effluents in a pure form that can be recycled to reap huge gains.

Wealth Creation from Waste

Novel technologies for profitable zero liquid discharge rather than prevention. Abatement of pollution and treatment of effluent have always been considered a cost – a necessary evil that needs to be propitiated so that manufacturing activity can take place without hindrance. Hence, traditionally, effluent treatment plants were considered as cost centers; the cost of which had to be loaded onto the main product, thus bringing down the profitability.

E-FACTORS ACROSS THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
E-FACTORS ACROSS THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY (Source. Roger Sheldon, Fine Chemicals through Heterogeneous Catalysis, Wiley (2001),)

Several options are available to treat various effluent streams, so as to turn them benign for disposal. All the options involve costs, depending on the severity of the pollution issue and the law of the land. However, the optimal solution can often be found at an appropriate cost.

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