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An Innovative Membrane-based Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) Solution for High Saline Wastewater

Technology Overview

Galvanizing industries, electroplating industries, semiconductor industries, metal processing industries, chemical industries, pharmaceutical industries, oil & gas industries and many other industries generate high saline wastewater. The recycling rate in these industries are <20%. Conventional treatment processes (chemical and biological) does not remove salinity.  Reverse osmosis is the well-known technology to treat saline wastewater however; it is limited with salt concentration in the feed water due to osmotic strength. Moreover, it is always a challenge to treat/dispose the RO rejection/brine/high strength wastewater. Disposing the rejection back to the sea / sewer is another environmental issue that needs to be addressed. Conventional distillation and evaporation methods are too expensive. Inexpensive, environmental friendly technologies are critical for brine treatment and zero liquid discharge (ZLD).

The technology provider has developed an innovative thermal membrane process based ZLD system that can be used to treat the above industrial wastewater at almost 5 times less energy compared to current incineration method. The novel ZLD system consists of a unique highly hydrophobic hollow fiber membrane, which enhance the efficiency of the system. The technology has been proved for brine treatment to reach ZLD and recover the valuable resources from the industrial wastewater.

The company is seeking partnerships or collaborations with industrial partners for further applications and technology development as well as seeking for end users for its patented technologies.

Technology Features & Specifications

The technology provider has licensed a novel hydrophobic hollow fiber membrane and a zero liquid discharge system. The ZLD system works in the principle of expansion-evaporation and the highly hydrophobic hollow fiber membrane functions as the porous plug or the expansion valve in the system. This process helps to increase the mass transfer due to heat loss and helps to recover the heat, which improves the thermal efficiency of the entire system. The system operates at relatively low temperature and pressure compared with the conventional evaporation and other thermal-based separation processes.

Potential Applications

  • Brine treatment to achieve zero liquid discharge
  • Used acid recovery
  • Pervaporation to separate organic solvent and bio-fuels

Market Trends and Opportunities

According to the recent report by Persistence market research, the Zero Liquid Discharge Market is expected to grow significantly with a CAGR of 8.7% During 2017–2025.  ZLD technology is widely being used by several industry sectors across the world. In general, the ZLD system can recover every drop of water for recycling and helps to recover valuable resources dissolved in the water.  Enforcement of stringent laws on waste water management is expected to further drive the adoption of ZLD technology in the near future. Per the latest Persistence Market Research (PMR) report, sales revenue from ZLD projects worldwide is expected to reach US$ 513.9 Million by 2017-end.

Customer Benefits

The novel membrane based ZLD system has several advantages over conventional distillation and evaporation systems. The key advantages of the system are as follow

  • Up to 100% water recovery
  • Up to 50% Energy saving
  • Up to 50% capital cost & space saving
  • Independent of salt concentration
  • Less or no pre-treatment required
  • Low operating temperature (60-80°C)
  • Corrosion free plastic materials
  • Modular system (Easy scalability)
  • High thermal efficiency (The system can be operated at higher Gain Output Ratio (GOR) due to efficient heat recovery)

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