HYDERABAD: While the textile industry helps many across the state earn their livelihoods, the chemical effluents from the units affect the lives of people living in the vicinity. To address this, a team of faculty members at the National Institute of Technology, Warangal (NIT-W), has developed an environment-friendly hybrid wastewater treatment system for textile industry effluents.
The brains behind this sustainable innovation — Prof Shirish Sonawane, Dr Murali Mohan Seepana, Dr Ajey Kumar Patel and Malkapuram Surya Teja — started working on the project in 2019.
According to Prof Sonawane, conventional methods involve the extensive use of chemicals. However, in order to reduce pollution levels to permissible limits of discharge, the team put forward a combination of coagulation, hydrodynamic cavitation (HC)-based oxidation system and a ceramic membrane (CM)-based filtration process. In the course of the coagulation process, the turbidity of the effluents is removed. Meanwhile, HC, a process involving the generation and collapse of microbubbles in a liquid, is employed afterwards to initiate the breakdown/mineralisation of complex organic compounds.
In place of polymeric membranes, the novel methodology uses ceramic membranes. “After two years, polymeric membranes need to be discarded. It becomes solid waste,” he adds.
As per the innovators, the integrated system achieved an 80% reduction in organic pollutants. The use of ceramic membranes makes the methodology more sustainable, he mentions. The surface-modified CM further improves filtration efficiency, ensuring the removal of even finer particles and impurities.
The team has filed three patents — two for the processes and one for design — for the cost-effective technology.
Elaborating on the hurdles they faced, Surya Teja says the textile pollutants are very stubborn in nature. “To degrade the pollutants, we have to remove the turbidity in the initial phase. That was the challenging task,” he says.
The second hurdle in front of the team was the soluble nature of dyes. “Even after the advanced oxidation process, there will be remnants of dyes in the water,” he adds.
Speaking to TNIE, NIT-W director Prof Bidyadhar Subudhi underlines the need for HEIs to come up with sustainable innovations. “A lot of the research coming from IITs and NITs are primarily on sustainable generation of energy. The expected outcome from different institutes towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals is a big challenge,” he adds.