Concept (need and benefits)
Waste generated in industry is usually considered as a problem at the end of a process. However, what is a waste in one process may be a resource in another.
The use of waste in other processes, although it is usually modified beforehand, brings with it direct financial savings, as waste treatment and final disposal is avoided, and an increase in sustainability, and safety and quality of the process is seen.
Proof of this lies in the increasing number of companies choosing to recover their waste instead of managing it externally.
The regulations in force (Law 22/2011, waste and contaminated soils) establish the priority to be carried out with waste. Thus, after prevention has been implemented (1st option) to reduce the amount of waste, it must be prepared for reuse (2nd option).
If these are not possible, recycling should be attempted (3rd option). And if recycling is not possible, before opting for disposal (the 5th and final option), recovery (4th option) should be attempted, either of the material or its energy.
Technology and the Condorchem Envitech Offer
Condorchem Envitech offers competitive solutions for waste management, making recycling or recovery possible. Specifically, the following are the main options made available:
- Recycling of organic solvents
The most commonly used organic solvents are turpentine, acetone, ethanol and ethyl acetate. Although they may be recovered for their energy, given their high specific heat capacities, recycling is economically and environmentally preferable. The most competitive solution for recovery of organic solvents is vacuum distillation. Condorchem Envitech has extensive experience designing vacuum distillation equipment for the recovery of organic solvents.
- Production of fertilizers and other valuable products
Synthetic fertilizers are usually chemical combinations of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. However, sources for these scarce raw materials, especially phosphorus, are in continual decline. This makes industrial fertilizers a viable alternative. The production of nutrients depends on each case, but the processes used most in projects developed by Condorchem Envitech revolve around membrane concentration and vacuum evaporation.
- Work-baths regeneration
Fluid baths spent of their degreasing, phospho-degreasing, anodic oxidation liquids or sodium hydroxide or acidic compound pickling solutions, for example, can be treated in some cases to regenerate the liquids; while, in others, material recovery is preferred. The most suitable technologies vary with each case, although the most commonly used are ultrafiltration, electrodialysis, diffusion dialysis, centrifugation and the Chemirec® process patented by Condorchem Envitech to recover hydrochloric acid from spent industrial surface treatment baths.
- Energy recovery
Energy recovery from the waste is an excellent option when there is no recycling route. This consists of the transformation of the waste to reduce its original volume and to obtain energy from it (fundamentally, electrical and thermal). The most common processes are biomethanization, pyrolysis, gasification and incineration.