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“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

– Anne Marie Bonneau a.k.a. The Zero Waste Chef

Editor’s Note, August 2019

Zero Liquid Discharge, or more commonly known as ZLD, is an expanding water treatment philosophy in which wastewater is purified and recycled, leaving little to no effluent when the process is complete.

Frost & Sullivan, in the cover story section of this issue, say that the global ZLD market is estimated to grow from USD 527 million in 2018 to USD 944.5 million in 2024 with a CAGR of 10.2%. While APAC is the fastest-growing market, China and India are the key growth drivers.

Thermal power plants, specifically, ZLD treatment for wastewater generated by the FGD unit is expected to be the key driver in China whereas in India rivers cleaning projects such as Namami Gange and regulatory enforcement of ZLD for high-pollution industries will be the key driver. The revenues in APAC are set to increase from 25% in 2018 to 29% of the global revenues in 2024.

High Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and Operating Expenditure (OPEX) are still major restraints for ZLD plants as they usually have higher capital costs compared to other wastewater treatment processes.

ZLD vendors are now increasingly using IoT-enabled wastewater monitoring and handling systems and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for improved efficiency and to keep pace with the rate of digitalization in End-User Industries. The rise of Industrial IIoT (Internet of Things) is expected to have strong implications for ZLD systems market.

There are several reasons for ZLD systems and plant manufacturers, suppliers, and consultants to be upbeat. News coming from various segments not only indicates a steady rise in the usage of ZLD but also hints at it being at the top spot for a long time to come.

At SAIL (Steel Authority of India Ltd), ETPs are being set-up at its steel plants to reuse water, while various ZLD projects for these steel plants are under formulation.

Atul Industries, a leading integrated chemical manufacturer, is deploying about Rs 100 crore towards environmental compliance, which would help turn their couple of units into ZLD units.

Sun Pharmaceutical, India’s 17 units are currently Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD), while 5 are currently in the process of obtaining the status.

Delhi state government has asked all the schools affiliated to it to implement the ZLD system in a fixed time period of 90 days, to eliminate the wastage of water.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently ordered the closure of distillery division of Bajaj Hindustan Sugar Ltd in Uttar Pradesh while slapping environmental compensation of Rs. 58.2 lakh for non-compliance of its orders. The tribunal had earlier asked CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) and state PCB for a report, which disclosed that the distillery unit was not yet fully compliant with pollution control measures, particularly for ZLD.

While the popular notion is otherwise, it is interesting to note that most ZLD systems in a developed country like the USA do not actually recover 100% percent of wastewater. Still, they are very effective. Such programs are referred to as near-ZLD and recover between 70-90% of wastewater for reuse.

In our opinion as well, based on various factors, even the near-ZLD could be a good option.

– Mayur Sharma
Editor, Smart Water & Waste World Magazine

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