A foul smelling waste from alcohol production is now being treated with a new innovative technology that yields fertilizer for agriculture.
“The Prime Minister is committed to virtually inaugurate our technology being used in the first successfully commissioned spent wash treatment plant in Walchandnagar, Aurangabad sometime next month. We have developed the zero discharge technology in association with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, that yields potash, currently imported by India for use as fertilizer,” informed Jagdish Parikh, managing director, Chem Process System.
Currently India imports nearly 90 per cent of potash used in the production of fertilizers and is the second largest importer of potash in the world. The new technology helps in the treatment of spent wash, one of the most harmful wastes across the world, generated from a molasses based distillery, that yields potash. After all, molasses is rich in potassium. What’s more, the de-potashed byproduct can also be used as a binder in the production of cattle feed. This innovative technology has now been commercially applied at the spent wash treatment plant at Aurangabad Distillery in Walchandnagar, 135 kilometres from Pune in Maharashtra.
“The plant operates at absolute zero discharge, as it works with negligible fresh water intake and the entire intake of pure water condensate is recycled into the process. No water is wasted,” states Jayeshbhai.
Disposal of spent wash has always been a problem. Composting with press mud and incineration are the unsatisfactory and unsustainable, yet recommended practices to deal with this waste, following manufacturing of alcohol from molasses.
A national conference on emerging technologies for zero discharge from distilleries was held here today by the institution of Water and Environment in collaboration with India Glycols.
“An environment-friendly disposal of this obnoxious waste has always been a challenge because in spite of all the bio treatments including bio-methanation, the waste water from distilleries is too acidic and its disposal is a cause for concern. The quantity is huge,” said J.C. Singhal, President, Institution of Water and Environment (IWE).
Attended by more than 150 stakeholders from government, industry, academics and consulting, the conference was inaugurated by UP Singh IAS, Secretary for Water Resources & Ganga Rejuvenation GOI.
Singh mentioned that water is a critical resource and it is only after the water crisis in Chennai that we have realized the severity of the problem. Following the water crisis in Cape town, we thought our problem was with distribution, not source. Finding solutions for our water security is a vital part of the Jal Kranti initiative of the government. Recovering worth from waste with zero discharge is important.
The new technology that treats spent wash has been presented to the pollution control board, distilleries, Niti Aayog and the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
--- By Aasha Gulrajani Swarup