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Monday, 27 May 2019

Textile wastewater treatment pilot plant holds huge potential

INNOVATIVE: Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury, Prof Prof Veruscha Fester and Gunnar Visser. INNOVATIVE: Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury, Prof Prof Veruscha Fester and Gunnar Visser.

The first pilot plant at the new Chemical Engineering building is up and running and aims to benefit the textile industry.

The goal is to help the textile industry save water and cut costs by reducing the amount of potable water used.

The Cleancolytic wastewater treatment plant consists of a textile wastewater reactor that works with a nano catalyst, uniquely immobilised to prevent suspension of the catalyst in the wastewater.

It was developed by a team of innovators from the Flow Process and Rheology Centre in the Faculty of Engineering.

The team members are Prof Veruscha Fester, Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury and Gunnar Visser.

“We have developed a large scale continuous system, that can treat up to 1 000 litres of wastewater per hour. Our aim is not just to remove the colour but also to get the quality to where it can be re-used for dyeing purposes. This can cut water bills by up to 80 percent,” said Fester.

“The process targets specific pollutants that are usually very difficult to remove with conventional methods. The nano catalyst we have developed can target and break up these pollutants.”

Fester said the team initially used only a syringe filter to develop the proof-of-concept where a few ml/min was treated and eventually progressed to 72 L/hour. The current pilot scale system can treat 1 000 L/hour.

Dr Revel Iyer, Director: Technology Transfer and Industry Linkages, oversaw the analyses directed at the technology fit with the market.

This included detailed market, techno-economic and business model analyses. According to Iyer, the Cleancolytic system has good prospects given the global push toward clean energy, tightening of regulations around industrial waste and the cost associated with conventional membrane filtration methods.

“Some further development work is required to make the final process more economical. However, this fine tuning is to be completed within the next 12 months. We invite proposals from prospective partners who would like to enter into a joint venture to take this forward.”

Funding for the development of the technology and the pilot scale plant was received from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Technology Development Fund. 

Written by Ilse Fredericks


Provides coverage for the Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design Faculties.