Low-income group users mostly cannot afford the high cost of treatment technologies available for managing oily wastewater generated at their source locations. As a result, large amounts of untreated oily wastewater are discharged into the aquatic bodies without following the guidelines of the Pollution Control Board.
To solve this problem, Dr Chiranjib Bhattacharjee, Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department at Jadavpur University in Kolkata has devised a system that combines electrocoagulation and electroflotation Enhanced Membrane Module (ECEFMM) techniques for waste water treatment.
With the development of this technology now, the Automobile servicing industry, food industry, and other small and medium scale enterprises can have a smart, cost effective electric field-assisted membrane separation device at their disposal for oily waste water treatment.
What is Electrocoagulation?
Electrocoagulation (EC) is a broad-spectrum treatment technology that removes emulsified oils, total suspended solids (TSS), heavy metals, bacteria, and other pollutants from water.
How does it work?
Electrocoagulation and electrofloatation are combined with the membrane in a single indigenous setup in the developed module. Turbulence caused by hydrogen bubbling through the feed medium or waste water prevents oil from accumulating over the membrane. Within the solution, the synergistic combination of hydrogen bubbling and the rotation of the membrane module causes significant turbulence.
Membrane fouling is significantly decreased when an electric field is applied during membrane separation, and membrane longevity is also improved by restricting membrane ageing over prolonged time periods. As a result, it requires less frequent membrane replacement, thus, lowering maintenance expenses significantly.
-The innovation is economically feasible wastewater treatment technology (both in terms of capital and recurring investment) for low-scale and medium enterprises and has good market potential.
-Moreover, unlike other conventional treatments, it can break the highly stable oil-water emulsion through electric discharge and separates the oil from water with high efficiency. Furthermore, by integrating the electrochemical process setup with the membrane module in a single hybrid ECEFMM setup, one process has been eliminated.
-This will also considerably reduce the original capital investment cost, with the added benefit of requiring less installation space.
-After oily wastewater treatment, the recovered wasted oil may be utilized as an industrial burner oil, furnace oil, mould oil, hydraulic oil, and so on. It can create a huge revenue generation scope for low-income groups by selling this collected spent oil. Installation of one set up in a zone of densely concentrated garages will serve the purpose of wastewater treatment, and extend the opportunity towards other low-income group users to control the water pollution level within PCB regulations.
Boost to Make in India initiative
The technology is developed with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies programme of the Department of Science & Technology (DST). It requires minimal manpower and does not need high-end technical adequacy for its operation, thus reducing the expense to a large extent.
The whole process is aligned with the Central government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The validation and testing of the prototype have been successfully accomplished, and the pilot-scale validation and testing are on the verge of completion.
Dr. Bhattacharjee further said, ‘’The separation technology running in different sectors for treating such oily waste water involves the installation of an electrolytic cell or DAF followed by a membrane unit. However, installing two separate units requires a high footprint area compared to the present unit, where two-unit operations are being assimilated in a single unit.’’
Other technology used (Phytorid Technology)
Phytorid is a self-sustainable technology for wastewater treatment based on the principle of natural wetland. It uses certain specific plants that can absorb nutrients directly from wastewater without requiring soil. These plants act as both nutrient sinkers and removers. Using Phytorid Technology for the treatment of sewage, it is possible and feasible to recover and reuse the treated water for gardening purposes