In India, textile and leather industries generate a lot of wastewater during the production process. After treating wastewater, large quantities of solid waste or sludge remain, often containing hazardous chemicals and metals. The existing solution is to simply landfill this sludge. Every year in India, approximately 4 million tons of hazardous sludge is dumped in landfill. Landfills are not environmentally sustainable and are running out of capacity. Their improper maintenance also leads to extensive soil and air pollution. On top of this, the textile industry’s production is growing over 10% every year and landfills are not prepared for this growth.
We are building an innovative venture, Puraloop, in India to address this issue. Puraloop is a circular innovation that converts the hazardous sludge into energy using an advanced microwave pyrolysis technology. And we’re currently testing the feasibility of introducing this technology in the Indian apparel sector!
The good news: The market is ready to adopt solutions
Thus far, the focus and initiatives in the sector by brands and manufacturers have centred around treating wastewater from factories. In fact, many water treatment companies have implemented ‘zero liquid discharge’ systems in their operations whereby the treated wastewater is being recycled back as input. Slowly, the sector is taking a very important next step by moving towards ‘zero discharge’ where even solid waste can be repurposed.
An additional crucial reason for companies to take up new technologies to repurpose their sludge is cost savings. The cost of landfilling sludge is very high and is only increasing, with waste-water treatment costs already being a major share of operational costs. The landfills are also filling up and setting up new landfills is difficult and expensive. The Indian government is hence very supportive of innovative solutions that can reduce or eliminate landfilling of sludge. This makes it even more appealing for water treatment companies to adopt new technologies.
Companies are already attempting to implement existing solutions to handle their sludge such as burning it in boiler-ovens or co-processing it in cement companies. However, both solutions come with challenges. Burning sludge is risky as polluting gasses can occur. And cement companies can’t transport or treat sludge that is too polluted. When they can handle the sludge, they charge high rates for treatment and transport.
Puraloop’s technology provides an opportunity to repurpose sludge
With Puraloop, we offer waste-water treatment companies a price competitive and sustainable solution. We convert this hazardous sludge into electricity using an advanced microwave pyrolysis technology. Microwave pyrolysis is an energy-efficient, highly controllable and a carbon-negative solution. The char, a by-product, can be used as activated carbon in the water treatment process. Due to the anaerobic process, no dangerous gases are formed while handling the sludge. With this microwave pyrolysis technology, Puraloop presents a unique solution to save costs ánd become zero discharge.
As part of our feasibility study, we have done an extensive market validation for Puraloop in the textile and leather sectors. The market and need for such an intervention have been validated, and we have already developed the business case and value proposition. We are currently engaging with various stakeholders to discuss our findings and explore opportunities of working together.
Are you a brand, manufacturer, water treatment company or funding organization looking for solutions to make the production process more sustainable, ‘zero discharge’ and cost-effective? Let’s connect!