CSIR lab’s in­no­va­tive way to treat sugar waste

Chemical Industry Digest - - News & Views -

The 300-odd mo­lasses-based dis­til­leries in In­dia are churn­ing out 2.5-2.6 bil­lion litres of al­co­hol an­nu­ally. They also dis­charge 30-35 bil­lion litres of mo­lasses, which, if dis­posed un­treated, can con­tam­i­nate sur­face and ground wa­ter.

The Cen­tral Salt & Marine Chem­i­cals Re­search In­sti­tute (CSMCRI), Gu­jarat, has de­vel­oped a process to sep­a­rate the main source of pol­lu­tion — potash and biodegrad­able or­ganic mat­ter — from dis­tillery spent-wash. It is claimed that this tech­nol­ogy will not only help dis­til­leries com­ply with the Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board’s man­dated zero liq­uid dis­charge (ZLD) ac­tion plans, but also meet up to a tenth of In­dia’s potas­sium-based fer­tiliser re­quire­ments, now en­tirely met through im­ports, re­ports In­dian Ex­press.

The tech­nol­ogy sep­a­rates com­plex or­ganic com­pounds from spent­wash through a co­ag­u­la­tion process. The sub­se­quent pro­cesses in­volve re­cov­ery of potash salts from the “lean” spent-wash, which then un­dergo evap­o­ra­tion to yield re­cy­cled wa­ter and residues. The residues are fur­ther mixed with the or­gan­ics re­cov­ered in the first stage. This gen­er­ates valu­able or­ganic mat­ter, potas­sium ni­trate (fer­tiliser) and re­claimed wa­ter (reusable in the mo­lasses fer­men­ta­tion process).

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