Chemical process industry and pollution

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This is how typical chemical process industry looks like, in a broad sense:

cpi

As you can see in the picture, every stage or every plant in the industry emits waste (effluent – whatever that flows outward, other than the product) in any of the forms viz. gaseous, liquid and solid. Effluent handling is a vast topic. Due to stringent norms on effluents emissions, a huge amount of study has been dedicated to waste treatment.

How does one manage effluents?

  • Make appropriate changes, innovations in the process. This is one of the 12 principles of Green Chemistry, to create such a process so that no waste is produced. Zero waste.
  • So much for Zero waste, it is not always possible. So what can one do? End of pipeline i.e. when changes and innovations are not possible in a process, treat the effluents.  Separation and purification is one of most economically costing processes in the industry.
  • 3R: Reduce, recycle and recover.

 (Recover: “Liability at one end becomes asset at the other.” ;) )

Wealth from waste

It figures, not all are concern driven. Some can envision the long term (or short term, or local) effects of pollution, while others simply care about money, or both? For some, business is what produces legitimate money and is not to prove chemistry and physics are working together. Innovation is making money. Money is the incentive. Speaking of money, you can also read about carbon emission trading and how India gained most from destroying HFC-23.

How does green technologies help us?

  • green technology operates in harmoney harmony with nature, but may not always makes business sense.
  • helps keep a limit on the pollutants produced
  • most importantly is site specific

Why is it site specific? Because what is green at one place won’t necessarily be green at another.

Food for thought

What could Ranbir Kapoor be possibly trying to say in the song ‘Sada Haq’ of the movie ‘Rockstar’ when he says these words:

“O Eco friendly
Nature ke rakshak
Main bhi hoon nature”

;)

Read more:

Industrial Waste Treatment : Prof. V. V. Mahajani’s lecture

Environmental Economics

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