Clean water with little energy: hubergroup’s water treatment plant in India
Global water use has increased by a factor of six over the past 100 years and continues to grow steadily at a rate of about 1% per year with increasing population, economic development and shifting consumption patterns. A study by the UN even concluded that the world could face a 40% water deficit by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario. As one of the leading printing ink specialists and raw material manufacturers worldwide, we at hubergroup know about our responsibility to deal carefully with natural resources. Thus, we are always looking for innovations and technologies to reduce the use of water, energy etc.
Now, we have achieved another milestone within our sustainability strategy: Our colleagues at the production site in Vapi, India, have put a Multi Effect Evaporator (MEE) into operation, which complements our Ultra Filtration (UF) and Reverse Osmosis (RO) facility. With this state-of-the-art technology, we can ensure an even more efficient processing of the site’s effluent.
The water treatment process
The first stop of the effluent is the UF facility, which uses a special filtration process originating from the field of membrane technology and is able to separate macromolecular substances from the water. Next, the water reaches the RO facility, which presses the water through reverse osmosis membrane modules using a pump. A large share of the water can then be used for production again. The remaining reject water is directed to our new MEE facility.
An evaporator converts the water portion of the wastewater to vapour while leaving the contaminants behind. In a MEE facility, several evaporators are connected in series to reduce the concentrate discharge progressively. “The MEE maximizes steam economy as vapour generated in the first evaporator is used to heat the next evaporator, which is held at a lower pressure and therefore has a lower boiling temperature. This means that only the first evaporator needs an external source of heat,” explains Abhijit Saniyal, Vice President Operations and Head of the export-oriented unit of our Vapi plant. “Consequently, the MEE decreases energy consumption for water treatment while increasing water recovery. It is highly reliable and known for its good performance around the world.” Consequently, the start-of-the-art technology is perfect for continuous feed and large quantities of concentrated effluent water.
After treatment through the MEE, a large quantity of the water can be used for production again. The remaining concentrate water is fed into an Agitated Thin Film Dryer (ATFD) to separate salt, which is then disposed of in a landfilling site.
Committed to sustainability
With this new water treatment facility, the hubergroup site in India invested in an infrastructure with a great environmental performance. Thereby, we are able to reuse a large share of our waste water – with very low energy consumption. This is one of many steps towards making our corporate trading as environmentally friendly as possible and ensuring sustainability along the value chain for our customers.