Low and medium-scale enterprises in automobile, food, and other sectors would soon have access to a new wastewater treatment technology that would reduce the high costs of existing technologies for handling oily wastewater generated at their source points. The new technology, which consists of an affordable electric field-assisted membrane separation device for oily wastewater treatment, is developed by Dr Chiranjib Bhattacharjee, Professor at the Chemical Engineering Department in Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Built with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies programme of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), the technology works on a combination of Electrocoagulation and Electroflotation Enhanced Membrane Module (ECEFMM) techniques for wastewater treatment, Science and Technology Ministry said in a statement.
While Electrocoagulation uses electrical charge for changing the particle surface charge, allowing suspended matter to form aggregates, Electroflotation separates suspended particles from water using hydrogen and oxygen bubbles generated by passing electricity through water, the ministry noted. “So far, the separation technology running in different sectors for treating such oily wastewater involves the installation of an electrolytic cell or DAF followed by 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, said Dr Bhattacharjee.
Due to the high cost of existing technologies, a large amount of untreated oily wastewater is discharged into the aquatic bodies without following the guidelines of the Pollution Control Board. However, the new technology is feasible in terms of capital and recurring investment for low-scale and medium enterprises and has a “good market potential”. By integrating the “Electrochemical process setup with the membrane module in a single hybrid ECEFMM setup, one process has been eliminated. This significantly lowers the initial capital investment expense along with the additional advantage of reduced installation area requirement.”
Moreover, the new technology requires minimal manpower and does not need high-end technical adequacy for its operation that cuts the operational expense to a large extent. The government said that the recovered spent oil can be used as an industrial burner oil, furnace oil, mould oil, hydraulic oil, etc., which would lead to revenue generation scope for low-income groups.