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In our previous blog post, we talked about the H-acid effluent problem. Today we shall discuss one of the proven technologies to tackle it – Recycle@SourceTM solution.

Recycle@SourceTM Solution

Mumbai-based Newreka Green Synth Technologies Pvt. Ltd is a company involved in the development, customization and commercialization of green chemistry and engineering based solutions for pharmaceutical, dye and dye intermediate and fine and specialty chemical sectors. One such technology provided by Newreka is called Recycle@SourceTM solution.

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The figure above shows the current industrial approach and the Recycle@SourceTM approach. A typical manufacturing process consists of several units. The current industrial practice is to collect the effluent from each unit and mix them together, so that the acidic and alkaline streams partially neutralize each other. This mixture is then sent for end of the pipe treatment like aerobic or anaerobic treatment, incineration, biological or biochemical treatment.  In Recycle@SourceTM individual process steps are dealt with – the effluent stream is treated with customized proprietary performance additive R-Cat, which selectively removes organic and inorganic impurities so that the stream can be sent back to the same process step as reaction or extraction medium.

It enhances the yield as the valuable chemicals that were being lost in the effluent stream are now recycled back and the quality is consistent because R-Cat treatment does not allow the build-up of impurities. In this way, Recycle@SourceTM solution significantly minimizes the liquid effluent load and this reduces the cost of effluent treatment and disposal without compromising on the yield, productivity and quality.

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Figure 2: Recycle@SourceTM applied to H-acid

Some numbers

Recycle@SourceTM

–          provides minimum 10 recycles of the liquid stream

–          effectively reduces the effluent by 90% per kg of H-acid

–          brings a 10% increase in yield

In other words, Recycle@SourceTM helps in achieving the 3 Ps of Chemical Industry – Profit, Performance and Pollution Prevention. In case you are aware of more such solutions, please feel free to share!

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The H-acid Effluent Problem

H-acid is one of the leading dye intermediates in the world, used in manufacture of black dyes. India is the second largest manufacturer of H-Acid in the world after China. However, H-acid is responsible for the most polluting industrial effluent in the dye and dye intermediate sector.

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Did you know that manufacturing 1 kg of H-acid, results in the generation of 50 kg waste ?

 In other words, it has an E-Factor of 50. In fact, the final isolation step is responsible for 50% of the overall waste generated. The waste is of dark color, strong acidity and contains substituted derivatives of naphthalene compounds. These organic substances are toxic, non-biodegradable, difficult to decolorize and resistant to conventional treatment. It has a very high COD of 1,50,000.

China and India – The hubs of H-acid manufacturing

Having considered the ill effects of H-acid manufacturing process, the developed countries of the world, with their strict environmental norms, gradually phased it out. Currently most of the developed world has banned it. However, the demand for H-acid continues – there is no other alternative on the horizon. For this reason, the manufacturing was outsourced to countries like China and India where environmental norms are not as strict.

The Bichhri Industrial Pollution Incident

 The extent of the damage possible due to the generated waste is evident from the Bichhri industrial pollution incident. Bichhri, a small town near Udaipur was home to several H-acid plants. However, the toxic wastewater from the plants was left untreated and left to be absorbed into the earth, badly damaging the groundwater and soil, rendering it unfit for cultivation. H-acid plants in Jaitpur and Ratlam were also closed down for similar reasons.

What is the way ahead ?

In India, the bulk of the manufacturing happens in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are considered employment generators. Most of the H-acid is exported, bringing in valuable foreign exchange to our country. Considering these realities in mind, it is necessary to find a balance between environment protection and economic development. To achieve this objective, it is essential to incorporate the principles of green chemistry and green engineering in this process.