The disposal of industrial effluent has become a high-priority issue today. Industrial waste typically contains pollutants that must be treated before being reused or disposed of in bodies of water. India is set to become an industrial hub in several crucial sectors. This marks a huge potential to upscale the industrial wastewater treatment processes that will not only save water but can also serve as an example of sustainable models to adopt. Therefore, to investigate the issue of effluents and foster clean water solutions for a sustainable tomorrow, DuPont Water Solutions (DWS), a global leader in water purification and separation technologies, featured its range of water solutions and technologies at IFAT in Mumbai from September 28-30, 2022.
Addressing environmental challenges
With an objective to solve the pressing environmental concerns focused on the water management, sewage, solid waste, and recycling segments, the three-day event provided a robust platform to connect with customers, partners and showcase the company’s advanced technologies – from ion exchange resins to reverse osmosis membranes, and from ultrafiltration membranes to electro deionisation techniques. During an interaction, Tanmeet Gulati, Commercial Leader, Pacific, DuPont Water Solutions, said, “DuPont’s work across four segments includes residential & commercial, industrial water and desalination, municipal water treatment, life sciences and specialties.”
He emphasised that industrial and desalination are the two biggest segments in their portfolio. “However, in India, there are three mega trends in development: wastewater treatment, zero liquid discharge (ZLD) or minimal liquid discharge (MLD). And the governments are strategizing to conserve water. The industries are into reusing water and for that, they require the water treatment technologies like Reverse Osmosis (RO), to enable the industries into wastewater treatment,” he continued. Speaking about desalinisation, he mentioned, “Desalinisation is similar to wastewater treatment. To make seawater usable, the salt content must be separated, and enhanced technologies are required. We have all kinds of components, like Reverse Osmosis (RO), Ultrafiltration (UF), which can help with desalination. These trends can provide a boom for the water treatment industry.”
Ion exchange resin technology in the pharma industry
Chrys Fernandes, Business Head - India subcontinent, DuPont Water Solutions, explained how ion exchange resin technology is also used in the pharmaceutical industry. He stated, “During the manufacturing of a drug that is made over a palladium or platinum catalyst, it must be purified, and that is where our resin is used in the purification of the drug, by selectively removing the catalyst.”
“Our specialty membranes are also used in the concentration of the drugs in the fermented broth. Let’s take an antibiotic, for example. The membrane is used in the concentration of the drug. Water used in the pharmaceutical plant is produced over a special membrane. It must be sanitised and operated at very high temperatures. There are various variants of RO membrane, some of these are used for just water purification, pharmaceutical purposes, or dairy applications,” Fernandes added.
India becoming a hub in the microelectronics industry
While citing India as a business hub in the coming future, Fernandes asserted that, among the several crucial business portfolios, India has the potential to become a hub in the microelectronics industry. “These industries require ultrapure water, and we offer those technologies, Ion exchange resins and RO which are used singly or in combination to help these industries achieve the high level of purity that they need during the water manufacturing process.”
Fernandes also illustrated this scenario with an example. In GIDC, in the Dahej industrial estate, the companies have built a 100 MLD desalination plant, and they use UF and RO. “For them, we have provided dry seawater RO, which uses less water during the production of the membranes and is also easier to install, commission, and start-up.”
In Chennai, the municipal corporation treats wastewater, puts it through an advanced treatment process that uses UF and RO and supplies water to industries for their use. Now, instead of drawing fresh water from lakes, industries get recycled water, and the freshwater is available to consumers.
According to Fernandes, “A few years ago, the percentage of wastewater or effluent water that was treated was very low, but now that is steadily going up. If we generate 100 litres of water now, only 40 litres of water are collected. And of these 40 litres, there is a small percentage that is treated. Hence, there is a huge potential here.”
Similarly, Gulati gave a stunning example of how a drought-prone region is reserving underground water for its future generations. He explained that Western Australia, a drought-prone region, does not get underground water, and hence, they have put in desalination plants to serve the community for water. Not only this, but they are also steps ahead as they are treating all the collected wastewater and recharging the groundwater so that their future generation, who are 25 years down the line, has water. “We are partnering with all desalination plants in Western Australia,” he added.
Indian towards a sustainable future
Gulati further explained how India is walking on the path of sustainability, “We are working with two trends. Since the government is emphasising regulations, we are educating the industries about the solutions we have available. Industries can adopt the solutions that we provide and meet the standards that the government is setting. Secondly, industries are very much aware now, so all the conglomerates want to be sustainable along with the local Indian companies,” he explained.
India has progressed well towards using alternative sources of water. As per Gulati, “With the stringent government regulations and people getting educated, the only question is how fast we can achieve the sustainability goal.”
Gulati also noted the amazing concept of ‘New Water’. He shared that Singapore uses treated sewage or industrial wastewater as an alternate water source for industrial use and drinking water. It is branded as New Water.
In simple words, Fernandes shed light on how waste and effluent water can turn into drinking water. “Treating wastewater is like a closed loop cycle; the water that the industry uses is again treated back into the plant, which is reusable. When you have wastewater, it has some organics - some inorganics, and impurities that are dissolved and/or suspended. Today you have technologies to remove all suspended materials, and all the dissolved materials. After you remove these impurities, you’re left with pure H2O. Then what stops you to drink back the same H2O. This requires a mindset change,” he discussed.
Selecting the right technology
Wrapping it up, Gulati concluded, “To get the results, you need to pick the technology depending upon what quality of water you require, what quality of water you are getting, and then combine those technologies together to get the right output.”
“That’s what we do as a company. We have simulation software with which we help design and optimise the plant and provide the system integrator with a design basis. Based on this design, they assemble all the components and run the system.” he added.