Waste Minimization

Waste Minimization

Waste minimization is a practice or process through which the quantity of generated waste is reduced with the main objective of producing the least of unwanted by-products through the optimal use of raw materials, water and energy which in turn reduces the amount of waste entering the environment. It supports any company’s aim for a “Clean technology” production which means full utilization of resources, cost savings in storage, treatment & disposal of generated waste by reducing its volume and its strength or concentration, improves environmental compliance, ensures profit, and promote corporate good image.

For any company which is competing in today’s world, efficient and “clean” processes have become a necessity which not only involves maximization of all the resources and utilities, but also the minimization of waste products. This results in a more cost effective production and plant operation. This activity of waste minimization can be classified under Corporate Social Responsibility Activities and thus, greatly help in boosting a company’s reputation in the society due to which it should be one of the prime focal points for any company’s top management.

The process of waste management in a company can be initiated through the formation of a team/committee consisting of people within the company who are solely dedicated to reduction of waste management within the company. This team then conducts various audits to track the amount of waste being generated through various operations and accordingly comes up with a detailed plan to minimize it. This includes reduction in effluent production, cutting down costs by conservation of water & energy and even resource optimization to minimize wastage. These plans, once approved by the top management of the company, are communicated throughout the company and are encouraged to implement them for minimum waste generation. The progress in tracked through keeping a tab on the amount of waste being generated and comparing pre-implementation and post implementation waste generation and required improvements are made in the plan. This creates an efficient feedback loop for progress tracking and also helps with the enforcement of the plan.

Techniques for Efficient Waste Minimization:

Waste as defined (in the Local Order) is “any matter whether solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive which is discharged, emitted or disposed in such volume or manner as to cause an alteration to the environment as well as any otherwise discarded, rejected, abandoned, unwanted or surplus matter that can be recycled, reprocessed, recovered or purified by a separate operation or process from that which was produced and even any matter prescribed to be waste and as defined by a competent department.” A waste, therefore, is an excess material resulting from any activities which is discharged as reject and unwanted or any surplus material whether as a total useless matter or those that can be rendered useful again by recycling, treatment or recovery thru a different process from which it was originally produced. Waste materials generated from manufacturing, processing & services from any industrial and commercial activities can be identified and grouped as follows:

  • Off-specification raw materials (contaminated, expired or outdated)
  • Off-specification spoiled products unfit for use or consumption
  • Contaminated products, including spills and leakages
  • Spent auxiliary materials (catalysts, solvents, filters, absorbents, etc.)
  • Undesirable by-products from maintenance activities (oils, solvents, etc.)
  • Undesirable products resulting from commissioning, start-up or process upset
  • Process waste water, including cooling & rinse water contaminated with chemicals
  • Air emission from the process, including fugitives & dust
  • Solid off-cuts, trimmings and excess materials
  • Used container & packaging materials

Ever since the Kyoto Protocol has been put into effect and widely accepted by countries all over the world, the organizations within these countries have become more vigilant about the emissions as well as managing the waste generated which in turn has led to a greater shift in focus for these organizations towards their CSR initiatives and has amplified the need of Waste Management tremendously.

Cleanroom

Typically used in manufacturing or scientific research, a cleanroom is a controlled environment that has a low level of pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapors. To be exact, a cleanroom has a controlled level of contamination that is specified by the number of particles per cubic meter at a specified particle size. The ambient air outside in a typical city environment contains 35,000,000 particles per cubic meter, 0.5 mm and larger in diameter, corresponding to an ISO 9 cleanroom which is at the lowest level of cleanroom standards.

Cleanroom Overview

Cleanrooms are used in practically every industry where small particles can adversely affect the manufacturing process. They vary in size and complexity, and are used extensively in industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical device and life sciences, as well as critical process manufacturing common in aerospace, optics, military and Department of Energy.

A cleanroom is any given contained space where provisions are made to reduce particulate contamination and control other environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and pressure. The key component is the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that is used to trap particles that are 0.3 micron and larger in size. All of the air delivered to a cleanroom passes through HEPA filters, and in some cases where stringent cleanliness performance is necessary; Ultra Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters are used.

Personnel selected to work in cleanrooms undergo extensive training in contamination control theory. They enter and exit the cleanroom through airlocks, air showers and/or gowning rooms, and they must wear special clothing designed to trap contaminants that are naturally generated by skin and the body.

Depending on the room classification or function, personnel gowning may be as limited as lab coats and hairnets, or as extensive as fully enveloped in multiple layered bunny suits with self-contained breathing apparatus.
Cleanroom clothing is used to prevent substances from being released off the wearer’s body and contaminating the environment. The cleanroom clothing itself must not release particles or fibers to prevent contamination of the environment by personnel. This type of personnel contamination can degrade product performance in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries and it can cause cross-infection between medical staff and patients in the healthcare industry for example.

Cleanroom garments include boots, shoes, aprons, beard covers, bouffant caps, coveralls, face masks, frocks/lab coats, gowns, glove and finger cots, hairnets, hoods, sleeves and shoe covers. The type of cleanroom garments used should reflect the cleanroom and product specifications. Low-level cleanrooms may only require special shoes having completely smooth soles that do not track in dust or dirt. However, shoe bottoms must not create slipping hazards since safety always takes precedence. A cleanroom suit is usually required for entering a cleanroom. Class 10,000 cleanrooms may use simple smocks, head covers, and booties. For Class 10 cleanrooms, careful gown wearing procedures with a zipped cover all, boots, gloves and complete respirator enclosure are required.

Cleanroom Air Flow Principles

Cleanrooms maintain particulate-free air through the use of either HEPA or ULPA filters employing laminar or turbulent air flow principles. Laminar, or unidirectional, air flow systems direct filtered air downward in a constant stream. Laminar air flow systems are typically employed across 100% of the ceiling to maintain constant, unidirectional flow. Laminar flow criteria is generally stated in portable work stations (LF hoods), and is mandated in ISO-1 through ISO-4 classified cleanrooms.

Proper cleanroom design encompasses the entire air distribution system, including provisions for adequate, downstream air returns. In vertical flow rooms, this means the use of low wall air returns around the perimeter of the zone. In horizontal flow applications, it requires the use of air returns at the downstream boundary of the process. The use of ceiling mounted air returns is contradictory to proper cleanroom system design.

Waste Water Treatment Plant

Wastewater Treatment Process

Wastewater treatment is the process of converting wastewater – water that is no longer suitable for use – into water that can be discharged back into the environment. Its treatment aims at reducing the contaminants to acceptable levels to make the water safe for discharge back into the environment.

There are two wastewater treatment plants namely chemical or physical treatment plant, and biological wastewater treatment plant. Biological waste treatment plants use biological matter and bacteria to break down waste matter. Physical waste treatment plants use chemical reactions as well as physical processes to treat wastewater. Biological treatment systems are ideal for treating wastewater from households and business premises. Physical wastewater treatment plants are mostly used to treat wastewater from industries, factories and manufacturing firms. This is because most of the wastewater from these industries contains chemicals and other toxins that can largely harm the environment.

The wastewater treatment is as follows:

  1. Wastewater Collection

This is the first step in wastewater treatment process. Collection systems are put in place by municipal administration to ensure that all the wastewater is collected and directed to a central point. This water is then directed to a treatment plant using underground drainage systems or by exhauster tracks owned and operated by business people.

  1. Odour Control

At the treatment plant, odour control is very important. Wastewater contains a lot of dirty substances that cause a foul smell over time. To ensure that the surrounding areas are free of the foul smell, odor treatment processes are initiated at the treatment plant. All odor sources are contained and treated using chemicals to neutralize the foul smell producing elements. It is the first wastewater treatment plant process and it’s very important.

  1. Screening

This is the next step in wastewater treatment process. Screening involves the removal of large objects that in one way or another may damage the equipment. Failure to observe this step, results in constant machine and equipment problems. Specially designed equipment is used to get rid of grit that is usually washed down into the sewer lines by rainwater. The solid wastes removed from the wastewater are then transported and disposed off in landfills.

  1. Primary Treatment

This process involves the separation of macrobiotic solid matter from the wastewater. Primary treatment is done by pouring the wastewater into big tanks for the solid matter to settle at the surface of the tanks. The sludge, the solid waste that settles at the surface of the tanks, is removed by large scrappers and is pushed to the center of the cylindrical tanks and later pumped out of the tanks for further treatment. The remaining water is then pumped for secondary treatment.

  1. Secondary Treatment

Also known as the activated sludge process, the secondary treatment stage involves adding seed sludge to the wastewater to ensure that is broken down further. Air is first pumped into huge aeration tanks which mix the wastewater with the seed sludge which is basically small amount of sludge, which fuels the growth of bacteria that uses oxygen and the growth of other small microorganisms that consume the remaining organic matter. This process leads to the production of large particles that settle down at the bottom of the huge tanks. The wastewater passes through the large tanks for a period of 3-6 hours.

  1. Bio-solids handling

The solid matter that settle out after the primary and secondary treatment stages are directed to digesters. The digesters are heated at room temperature. The solid wastes are then treated for a month where they undergo anaerobic digestion. During this process, methane gases are produced and there is a formation of nutrient rich bio-solids that are recycled and dewatered into local firms. The methane gas formed is usually used as a source of energy at the treatment plants. It can be used to produce electricity in engines or to simply drive plant equipment. This gas can also be used in boilers to generate heat for digesters.

  1. Tertiary treatment

This stage is similar to the one used by drinking water treatment plants which clean raw water for drinking purposes. The tertiary treatment stage has the ability to remove up to 99 percent of the impurities from the wastewater. This produces effluent water that is close to drinking water quality. Unfortunately, this process tends to be a bit expensive, as it requires special equipment, well trained and highly skilled equipment operators, chemicals and a steady energy supply. All these are not readily available.

  1. Disinfection

After the primary treatment stage and the secondary treatment process, there are still some diseases causing organisms in the remaining treated wastewater. To eliminate them, the wastewater must be disinfected for at least 20-25 minutes in tanks that contain a mixture of chlorine and sodium hypochlorite. The disinfection process is an integral part of the treatment process because it guards the health of the animals and the local people who use the water for other purposes. The effluent (treated waste water) is later released into the environment through the local waterways.

  1. Sludge Treatment

The sludge that is produced and collected during the primary and secondary treatment processes requires concentration and thickening to enable further processing. It is put into thickening tanks that allow it to settle down and later separates from the water. This process can take up to 24 hours. The remaining water is collected and sent back to the huge aeration tanks for further treatment. The sludge is then treated and sent back into the environment and can be used for agricultural use.

Wastewater treatment has a number of benefits. For example, wastewater treatment ensures that the environment is kept clean, there is no water pollution, makes use of the most important natural resource; water, the treated water can be used for cooling machines in factories and industries, prevents the outbreak of waterborne diseases and most importantly, it ensures that there is adequate water for other purposes like irrigation.

In summary, wastewater treatment process is one of the most important environmental conservation processes that should be encouraged worldwide. Most wastewater treatment plants treat wastewater from homes and business places. Industrial plant, refineries and manufacturing plants wastewater is usually treated at the onsite facilities. These facilities are designed to ensure that the wastewater is treated before it can be released to the local environment.

What is Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID)?

A piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) is a drawing in the process industry. A P&ID shows all piping, including the “physical sequence of branches, reducers, valves, equipment, instrumentation and control interlocks.” A P&ID is used to operate the process system, since it shows the piping of the process flow along with the installed equipment and instrumentation.

P & IDs play a key role in maintaining and modifying the process they describe, because it is important to demonstrate the physical sequence of equipment and systems, including how these systems connect. In terms of processing facilities, a P&ID is a visual representation of key piping and instrument details, control and shutdown schemes, safety and regulatory requirements, and basic start-up and operational information.

A P&ID should include the following:

  • Instrumentation and designations
  • Mechanical equipment with names and numbers
  • All valves and their identifications
  • Process piping, sizes, and identification
  • Vents, drains, special fittings, sampling lines, reducers, increasers, and swaggers
  • Permanent start-up and flush lines
  • Flow directions
  • Interconnections references
  • Control inputs and outputs, interlocks
  • Interfaces for class changes
  • Computer control system
  • Identification of components and subsystems delivered by the process

A P&ID should NOT include the following:

  • Instrument root valves
  • Control relays
  • Manual switches
  • Primary instrument tubing and valves
  • Pressure temperature and flow data
  • Elbow, tees and similar standard fittings
  • Extensive explanatory notes

A P&ID involves various symbols to represent all of the included parts, components, and information. Their symbology is defined on separate drawings referred to as “lead sheets” or “legend sheets.” Lead sheets should be customized to each company’s process plants, though in general, the P&IDs are based on a core set of standard symbols and notations. The most important part of the lead sheets is that they are organized logically so that it is possible to easily locate the symbols and tags. While it’s a good practice to have lead sheets for the major equipment in a factory, it may not be necessary because this major equipment already should be tagged and named with general specifications for identification purposes.

Letter and number combinations appear inside each graphical element and letter combinations are defined by the ISA standard. Numbers are user assigned and schemes vary. While some companies use sequential numbering, others tie the instrument number to the process line number, and still others adopt unique and sometimes unusual numbering systems. The first letter defines the measured or initiating variables such as Analysis (A), Flow (F), Temperature (T), etc. with succeeding letters defining readout, passive, or output functions such as Indicator (I), Recorder (R), Transmitter (T), etc.

Below are some piping and instrumentation diagram symbols with letters.


Because a P&ID contains such important information, it is critical to the workings of the process industry that the process plants apply tags or labels to keep track of all of the equipment, piping, valves, devices, and more. Those labels must match the symbology and should not fail, so that the plant’s operations run smoothly and efficiently. That’s why the unique identifiers involved in the P&ID, tagging, and labeling process are critical.

The P&ID and tags ensure that even collections of similar objects have unique tags so that identical valves, pumps, instruments, etc., can be uniquely identified
The P&ID and tags make it possible to assemble the process plant in a structured manner so that additions, deletions, changes, etc., are possible from a whole-unit scale down to a single valve on a pipe at any location.

The P&ID and tags contain scores of metadata that provides, or links to, more details including specifications, materials of construction, data sheets, etc.
Best Practices for Tagging Equipment When Considering P&ID.

Using a numeric-only system for tagging equipment is the best way for process industries to avoid the problems with labeling by abbreviated names. Structured tag systems are more intuitive for every team that deals with the equipment, including developers, operators, and maintenance. The equipment tag format should be a series of three numbers, beginning with an area number, followed by an equipment type code, and then ending with a unique sequence number.

Area numbers represent an area that may be determined by the physical, geographical, or logical grouping location by the plant site
Equipment types are fairly straightforward, but if equipment has multiple functions, users should determine how to select the most suitable equipment type code.

Sequence numbering is the consecutive numbering of similar equipment in any given area, and it’s important to being the sequence at 01 so that all equipment can have it’s own sequence number.

Validation

Validation Protocols for Pharmaceutical Industries

For pharmaceutical industries, product quality is paramount. Minor inconsistencies can lead to major disasters. To maintain quality assurance, consistency and risk assessment, industries conduct a validation of processes and equipment. A validation is a documented evidence of the consistency of processes and equipment. Design Qualification (DQ), Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ) and Performance Qualification (PQ) are an essential part of quality assurance through equipment validation.

DQ IQ OQ PQ protocols are ways of establishing that the equipment which is being used or installed will offer a high degree of quality assurance, so that manufacturing processes will consistently produce products that meet predetermined quality requirements.

Design Qualification (DQ)

Design qualification is a verification process on the design to meet particular requirements relating to the quality of manufacturing and pharmaceutical practices. It is important to take these procedures into consideration and follow them keenly. Along with Process Validation, pharmaceutical manufacturers must conduct Design Qualification during the initial stages. For DQ to be considered whole, other qualifications i.e. IQ, OQ and PQ need to be implemented on each instrument and the system as a whole.

DQ allows manufacturers to make corrections and changes reducing costs and avoiding delays. Changes made to a DQ should be documented which makes DQ on the finalized design easier and less prone to errors. By the use of a design validation protocol it is possible to determine whether the equipment or product will deliver its full functionality and conform to the requirements of the validation master plan.

Installation Qualification (IQ)

Any new equipment is first validated to check if it is capable of producing the desired results through Design Qualification, but its performance in a real-world scenario depends on the installation procedure that follows. Installation Qualification (IQ) verifies that the instrument or equipment being qualified, as well as its sub-systems and any ancillary systems, have been delivered, installed and configured in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications or installation checklist. All procedures to do with maintenance, cleaning and calibration are drawn at the installation stage. It also details a list of all the continued Good Manufacturing Procedures (cGMP) requirements that are applicable in the installation qualification.

Conformance with cGMP’s requires, that whatever approach is used, it is fully documented in the individual Validation Plan. The IQ should not start with the Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) or Commissioning tasks, but it should start before these tasks are completed; enabling the validation team to witness and document the final FAT and commissioning testing. The integration of these activities greatly reduces the costly and time consuming replication of unnecessary retesting.

These requirements must all be satisfied before the IQ can be completed and the qualification process is allowed to progress to the execution of the OQ.

Operational Qualification (OQ)

Operational Qualification is an essential process during the development of equipment required in the pharmaceutical industry. OQ is a series of tests which of tests which ensure the equipment and its sub-systems will operate within their specified limits consistently and dependably. Equipment may also be tested during OQ for qualities such as using an expected and acceptable amount of power or maintaining a certain temperature for a predetermined period of time. OQ follows a specific procedure to maintain thoroughness of the tests and accuracy of the results. The protocol must be detailed and easily replicated so that equipment can be tested multiple times using different testers. This ensures that the results are reliable and do not vary from tester to tester. OQ is an important step to develop safe and effective equipment.

Performance Qualification (PQ)

PQ is the final step in qualification processes for equipment, and this step involves verifying and documenting that the equipment is working reproducibly within a specified working range. Rather than testing each instrument individually, they are all tested together as part of a partial or overall process. Before the qualification begins, a detailed test plan is created, based on the process description.

Process Performance Qualification (PPQ) protocol is a vital part of process validation and qualification, which is used to ensure ongoing product quality by documenting performance over a period of time for a certain process.

Equipment qualification through DQ IQ OQ PQ practices is a part of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), through which manufacturers and laboratories can ensure that their equipment delivers consistent quality. It reduces the margin for errors, so the product quality can be maintained within industry standards or regulatory authority requirements. When qualification of equipment is not needed very frequently, performing it in-house might not be feasible, so smaller laboratories might benefit from scheduling external equipment validation services on a regular basis instead.

Calibration for Pharmaceutical Industries

The pharmaceutical sector is governed by regulatory norms to ensure that quality standards are met for products in line with pharmaceutical cGMP guidelines. The FDA takes food and pharma production very seriously, which is why these guidelines are in place. Calibration is one such process wherein an instrument or a utility system is adjusted so that its readings are adherent to the defined guidelines. It is usually performed as per approved written procedures.
What is Equipment Calibration?
Equipment calibration is important as equipment is often used to gather critical data and hence calibrating them and keeping them up to date becomes mandatory. This process is carried out regularly since equipment used in pharmaceutical manufacturing depending on its functionality is subjected to a lot of wear and tear.Calibration is usually done component-wise to ensure accuracy of the operating equipment as per defined pharmaceutical cGMP.
Types of Calibration
Calibration types are defined as per the parameter which is crucial for a certain process. The classification is largely done on the basis of the type of reading, and common types include:
Pressure Calibration– This method calibrates pressure readings within barometers, transmitters, test gauges and other kinds of equipment commonly used in manufacturing setups.
Temperature Calibration– Calibration is done based on temperature readings, in simulation of a real-time environment. The equipment in this category includes furnaces, weather stations, bio repositories, thermistors, etc.
Flow Calibration– The calibration which is carried out routinely for flow meters that check product quantity or energy functions in processes. Some of the equipment which requires flow calibration includes flowmeters, rotameters and turbine meters.
Pipette Calibration– Pipettes are used in laboratories to measure liquids in small, precise quantities. This calibration method is utilized in labs that make frequent use of pipettes, and is a fairly stringent process since the degree of precision required is very high.
Electrical Calibration– This particular method is used for checking electrical equipment. The accreditation standards are set as per UKAS outlines, since these are considered the most accurate set of standards for electrical calibration.
Mechanical Calibration– Mechanical calibration checks for the accuracy of various measurements such as torque, mass, force, angle and vibration. All these elements are checked in a temperature-controlled facility, since variations in temperature can adversely impact the calibration process.
Since these instruments are used in real-time environments, they are subject to frequent wear and tear. However, they are used in processes that require a lot of precision in terms of data gathering and measured quantities.Therefore, in order to maintain the accuracy of the process and the measurements taken by equipment, frequent calibration is required.

The frequency with which equipment is to be calibrated depends on various factors such as:

  • The importance of the measurements for which instruments are used
  • The defined standards of the equipment manufacturer to adhere to the pharmaceutical CGMP guidelines.
  • The degree of risk involved in the process for which that equipment is being used
  • The degree of precision required from the equipment and the accuracy with which data is to be gathered from the equipment.
  • The extent to which the equipment is stable. This is evaluated from the historical data on the stability of the equipment

Calibration is a mandatory process in the pharmaceutical space considering the need for reproducible product quality. Lack of precision can lead to huge repercussions and penalties. Calibration forms an essential part of the quality assurance and validation process in the pharmaceutical industry.

Water Audit

An Introduction to Water Audit in Industries

Water has been an over utilized commodity in the process industry due to its low cost. However, due to increasing environmental regulations and high expectations of environmental performance, water conservation has been on the agenda for industries. Conducting a water use efficiency audit is the first step in determining the most cost effective water conservation projects.
Water audit is the measure of impact the organization has on water resources. Determining an organizations’ water consumption and the amount of water lost from a distribution system is the main aim of Water Audit. Loss of water may be due to leakage and other reasons such as pumping inefficiency, unauthorized or illegal withdrawals from the systems and the cost of such losses to the organization.
Water audit creates a detailed profile of the water distribution system. It maps water intensive units, thus facilitating effective management of water resources with improved reliability. It diagnoses the problems faced to recommend appropriate solutions. It is also an effective tool for realistic understanding and assessment of the present performance level and efficiency of the water management service and the compliance of such a system for future expansion.
Standards and guidelines
Since water is seen as a free commodity there are no specific guidelines available for the same. The Central Water Commission has taken the role to bring out General Guidelines for Water Audit which covers the three main sectors of water use i.e. irrigation, domestic and industrial. These guidelines aim to introduce, standardize and popularize the water audit system for conservation of water in all sectors and improve the water use efficiency.
Categories of Water Audit
Based on the extent of water consumption, Water Audit can be divided into four categories.

  • Large Water users:These users covers large Industries, Agriculture Municipalities and Metros with consumption more than 15 million litres per day.
  • Medium Water Users: These users covers Industrial clusters, Medium Industries and township with demand ranging from 3 million litres per day to 15 million litres per day.
  • Small Water Users: Large Hotels, IT Parks, Theme Parks, Industrial and Private Township with demand of 0.5 million litres per dayto 3 million litres per day.
  • Tiny water Users: All other users with consumption less than 0.5 million litres per daysuch as Commercial complexes, Government Offices/Buildings, Builders, Colonies etc.

Benefits of water audit
Water audit improves the distribution system, spots problems and risk areas and therefore builds a better understanding of water handling system right from source to disposal/treatment. Leak detection programs help in minimizing leakages and tackling small problems before they become major ones. These programs have the potential to-

  • Reduce water losses
  • Improve financial performance
  • Improve reliability of supply system
  • Enhance knowledge of the distribution system
  • Increase efficiency in the use of existing supplies
  • Create Better safeguard to public health and property
  • Improve public relations
  • Reduce legal liability, and reduced disruption.

Efficient use of water can be a part of the environmental strategy of a business, just like reducing the carbon footprint. Analyzing risk and opportunities associated with water allow organization to assess water related risks and opportunities. Water audit is qualitative and quantitative analysis of water consumption and it also help to assess significant social and environmental impacts associated with water scarcity.

Aeration in Wastewater Treatment

The Role of Aeration in Wastewater Treatment

Industrial wastewater treatment is the process used to treat wastewater that is produced as a by-product of industrial or commercial activities. After treatment, the treated industrial wastewater may be reused or released to surface water in the environment.
What is Aeration?
Wastewater aeration is the process of adding air into wastewater to allow aerobic bio-degradation of the pollutant components. It is an integral part of most biological wastewater treatment systems. Chemical treatments make use of chemicals to react and stabilize the contaminants in the wastewater stream whereas biological treatments use microorganisms that naturally occur in wastewater to degrade contaminants.
When is Aeration Used?
The activated sludge process is the most common option under the secondary treatment used in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. Aeration is part of the secondary treatment process. Aeration in an activated sludge process is based on pumping air into a tank, which promotes the microbial growth in the wastewater. The microbes feed on the organic material, forming flocs that can easily settle out. After settling in a separate settling tank, bacteria forming the “activated sludge” flocs are continually circulated back to the aeration basin to increase the rate of decomposition.
How does Aeration Work?
The bacteria in the water require oxygen for the biodegradation process to occur. Aeration provides oxygen to bacteria for treating and stabilizing the wastewater. The bacteria in the wastewater break down the organic matter containing carbon to form carbon dioxide and water utilizing the supplied oxygen. Without sufficient oxygen, bacteria are unable to biodegrade the incoming organic matter in a reasonable time.
In the absence of dissolved oxygen, degradation must occur under septic conditions that are slow, odorous, and yield incomplete conversions of pollutants. Under septic conditions, some of the biological process converts hydrogen and sulphur to form hydrogen sulphide and transform carbon into methane. Other carbon will be converted to organic acids that create low pH conditions in the basin and make the water more difficult to treat and promote odour formation. Biodegradation of organic matter in the absence of oxygen is a very slow biological process.
There are two common types of water aeration: subsurface and surface.
What is Subsurface Aeration?
Subsurface is the most common type of aeration. Large wastewater treatment plants in urban areas commonly use it. Subsurface aeration uses porous devices that are placed below the liquid’s surface. These diffusers or submersible aerators are lowered into the water or fluid and compressed air is released, creating bubbles. This method delivers the most oxygen available into the water and ensures the water and oxygen are thoroughly mixed.
What is Surface Aeration?
Surface aerators push water from under the water’s surface up into the air, and then the droplets fall back into the water, mixing in oxygen. The jets of water break the surface with varying degrees of force.
Why is Aeration Important for Wastewater Treatment?
Aeration is the most critical component of a treatment system using the activated sludge process. When properly implemented, aeration also eliminates seasonal problems such as algae growth or stratification. When exposed to heat and sun, still bodies of water such as reservoirs become stratified. This causes problems, such as foul odors, weed and algae growth, and fish kills. By improving the nutrient-oxygen balance, aeration helps improve water quality. A well-designed aeration system has a direct impact on the level of wastewater treatment it achieves. An evenly distributed oxygen supply in an aeration system is the key to rapid, economically viable, and effective wastewater treatment.

Energy Audit

Energy Audit – An Overview

Energy Audit is the first step in Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Projects for Industrial Plants. Energy Audit is a periodic exercise undertaken by a plant to assess its energy consumption and identify opportunities for Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency. It also helps plant personnel in modernizing the plant with new technological solutions. It benefits plants cut down production costs.

In India, Energy Audit is quite popular in an Industrial or Commercial Facility. Many companies have realized the potential of energy saving in their plant. However one must realize that Energy Audit is only the first step in the direction of energy efficiency and energy conservation. The recommendations made as part of the energy audit have to be implemented to achieve the energy saving targets.

The energy saving recommendations doesn’t require much investment. In some high cases, the investment may be higher. The plant then takes up the investments in a phase-wise manner, which result in delayed energy saving for the plant. In fact the plant may never take some of the recommendations up. This renders the entire energy audit exercise futile.

Energy Audit works for every single Plant or Commercial Facility, as there is always scope for Energy Optimization through Energy Conservation & Energy Efficiency. Every plant goes through some changes over a period of time. Moreover an external Energy Audit team works across departments and brings in rich experience gained from Energy Audit of several plants. This not only results in gaining fresh perspective of Energy saving possibility by an external team also results in bench-marking based on similar parameters.

Energy Audit gives a positive orientation to Preventive Maintenance, Safety and Quality Control programs thereby improving the overall efficiency and output of existing system.

Nearly all the Industrial Units and Commercial Complexes have a potential to save 10-15% on Energy Bills and additional savings in Thermal Energy.

The evident reason why a plant goes for an Energy Audit is the saving of energy. This saving translates into monetary saving and hence can have a direct impact on profitability of a Company. It is also a step towards sustainability.

However, Energy Audits should look at a more comprehensive approach than just reducing cost. Industries should focus more on reducing their carbon footprint as necessitated by Governing Environmental Laws. Energy Audits must go beyond the conventional approach and adopt newer technologies for Green Power Generation.

With increased environmental awareness the pressure on Industries is mounting to reduce their Carbon footprint by adopting Greener Methods wherever possible. In such as scenario Energy Audit would play a crucial role in offering Industries a comprehensive approach towards a Greener Plant.

There is no specific answer as to how much energy a plant could save post an Energy Audit. An estimate could certainly be provided and in all cases Energy Audit could prove to be useful and economically viable. This is especially true in the present day scenario when Energy costs are ever rising and are expected to rise further.

Each Industrial Plant must carry out Energy Audits for reducing their energy usage by adopting energy conservation and energy efficiency measures.

Chemical Engineer in a plant

Why Chemical Industries Need Process Engineers

Large chemical and manufacturing plants convert raw materials into products. This conversion requires meticulously designed processes and systems. That’s where the role of Process Engineers comes into play. These plants employ chemical process engineers to create, modify, and monitor the chemical and biochemical processes used to make these goods. Process engineers choose or develop the materials and manufacturing methods that will convert materials into the desired good. Those final products can include chemicals, fuel, plastics, food and drinks, clean water, and bath and hygiene products etc.

Process engineers do not provide theoretical consultation rather they are involved with the daily operations of a commercial or industrial enterprise.
Process engineers are entirely capable of using their expertise to help companies improve profitability and efficiency. Working with one of these professionals can be a great asset for a business.

Many times production suffers due to inefficiency in the process or systems. Most companies do not know how to deal with it. Process engineers are experts at coming up with solutions to these kinds of problems.

At times product defects may pop up frequently. Such an issue can cause significant damage to a company’s reputation. The knowledge of a process engineer allows him or her to identify the issue causing the defect, allowing them to be rectified. Even if there are currently no problems with a company’s product, any opportunities to enhance overall quality should be taken. A process engineer can take a look at what is being used in production and make suggestions for methods of improvement.

The amount of products a company is physically able to produce in a given period of time is always of concern. In order to increase profitability, process engineers analyze a company’s processes and make recommendations for amplifying their effectiveness. Any major upgrade for a company’s facility must be managed with great care. A process engineer can make suggestions for areas that would result in greatest possible return.

Labor is a significant part of the operation of any large facility; it is also a large expenditure for companies. Fortunately, process engineers are able to analyze how people are working and find ways for them to be more efficient. Process engineers’ skills can be useful in many areas of a company, from material moving to labor to production. All areas have ways, large or small, in which they could be more efficient.

While saving energy is great for helping the natural environment, it also helps out with the monthly costs of running a company. Process engineers have the ability to find areas that can contribute to lowered costs.

If a company is to stay in business for a long period of time, it is crucial that the products it creates are of a consistent quality for its customers. The process control solutions that process engineers can offer are of tremendous assistance in this regard.

Just about every industrial undertaking has some sort of waste in the manufacturing process. A process engineer can find ways in which the waste can be minimized, thereby helping to better control costs.

Many companies work with tight deadlines on a regular basis in order to keep their customers satisfied. By improving the efficiency of daily operations, process engineers make meeting these deadlines a much easier task. Outdated systems need to be replaced. Process engineers can ensure that the right systems are chosen.

In conclusion, Process Engineers are required to overlook every aspect of a chemical or manufacturing plant. Panorama provides skilled process engineering services for Chemical Industries that help build and maintain the plant for increased profitability.