Expert opinions, TECHNOLOGY

Industrial waste: an underestimated pollution factor

Russia has been focusing on the household waste (SMW) problem over the past few years, as the country annually produces about 70 mio metric tons of solid waste. To address this problem, the Environment National Project was launched in 2018, with an ambitious target to reduce the volume of household waste going to landfills by half by 2030. At the same time, household waste accounts for only a small part of about 10% of all waste generated in the country. The bulk of waste in Russia is solid and liquid industrial waste – in the past 20 years, its amount has quadrupled to about 8 bln tons a year. Industrial waste is also a much greater danger than solid waste.

Alexander Patrin / RIA Novosti

Poor-quality treatment of industrial wastewater containing petroleum products and other toxic substances causes obvious damage to the environment. Pollutants get into rivers and lakes.

In theory, companies should be fined for the discharge of untreated wastewater containing oils, petroleum products and other toxic substances that damage the environment. However, unfortunately, certain companies still drain industrial waste into the environment without proper processing or treatment.

The updated environmental legislation and tightened controls are encouraging a healthy demand for technically reliable and cost-effective solutions for the processing of industrial waste. Such solutions should allow companies to operate lawfully while at the same time attaining high business performance indicators, financially and environmentally.

Currently available methods for processing and disposing of liquid waste have a number of drawbacks that industrial companies find problematic. One of them is the high cost of water purification from petroleum products to achieve the levels required by Russian laws. They also lead to a significant emission of greenhouse gases, sometimes up to 2.5K tons of CO2 per year at one facility. Even greater costs are required for waste processing if their volumes are several times higher than the standard.

Wastewater management is one of the most expensive environmental efforts. Last year, almost a third of the total nature protection budget was spent on the collection and treatment of wastewater in Russia.

This year, the prices of certain water purification technologies, solutions and products have risen sharply (in some cases by up to 90%), and some of them are no longer available on the Russian market. To replace them, Biomicrogel Group is boosting the production of coagulants, flocculants and demulsifiers necessary for water purification. These products are made using the company’s proprietary technology from vegetable feedstock – sugar beet pulp and secondary woodworking products.

Biomicrogels are natural biopolymers and their advanced modifications that substitute standard synthetic polymers based on oil products. Today they are used in various fields of human activity. The company’s coagulants, flocculants and demulsifiers help reduce the cost of water purification by 50‒200% as opposed to using similar imported products.

These products also help treat water ten times more effectively than similar solutions while contributing to energy-saving and curbing greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, by using biomicrogel-based solutions, one can reduce the amount of waste subjected to disposal thus also cutting energy costs and CO2 emissions as 1 kg of biomicrogels curbs the greenhouse gas emissions by 600–1,500 kg in the CO2 equivalent.

In addition to cleaning liquid industrial waste from oil, fats and oil products, our product line — the biodegradable coagulants, flocculants, demulsifiers and filtering materials — are used for processing spent lubricants and coolants in machine engineering and metal production, as well as to increase the effectiveness of vegetable oil extraction in the food industry and to remove oil spills. The company’s portfolio includes both stand-alone products and turn-key solutions consisting of reactive chemicals, equipment, engineering, assembly and startup services. At the first stage, we conduct a technology audit and a preliminary assessment of the client’s needs; then we organize industrial trials, selecting best parameters to achieve best technical and economic indicators. After that, we provide a complex engineering solution, products and complete the startup. Subsequently, we provide either technical support or full-service maintenance that deals with any issues of a specific process section.

In 2021, the biomicrogels were recognized best clean technology at the G20 summit.

By Andrei Yelagin, CEO of Biomicrogel Group

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