Developing water chemistries: Improved environment & superior performance

Developing water chemistries: Improved environment & superior performance

5:35 AM, 26th December 2017
Avijit Kumar Mitra, Director Marketing, Nalco Water
Avijit Kumar Mitra, Director Marketing, Nalco Water (India).

In an interview, Avijit Kumar Mitra, Director Marketing, Nalco Water (India), an Ecolab company, with Chemical Today Magazine  tells that the requirement for water treatment chemical will double in a decade and technologies will keep changing to keep up with the new demands presented to the industry.

By Shivani Mody

Technology, innovation trends in water treatment chemicals. 

The innovation trends are towards overcoming challenges primarily in 3 areas, which are - reduce water usage in various applications, handle varied water qualities that are available and reliability of water supply. The innovations are ensuring that the industries and societies have

  1. improved water production processes which includes polymers to enable optimized solid-liquid separation, reduced cost of operations in desalination processes, utilization of automation and technology to track water systems
  2. improved industrial water efficiency which will reduce operations and maintenance costs, maximize facility run ability, bring about major energy savings and induce improved safety in operations 

Growth opportunity in Asia Pacific markets.

It is a very exciting time for us in terms of growth potential in Asia Pacific, which is the home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world. In another 10 years, Asia Pacific will add 1 billion middle-class population and will contribute about 45 percent of world’s GDP leading to rising urbanization and lifestyle changes.

With the rapid acceleration of these developments, the water treatment chemical requirements would double by 2025 across industries and so will our opportunities to grow.

Further, high year on year growth is expected in food processing, healthcare, manufacturing, metals & minerals and power industries, considering some of the potential sectors for growth in emerging markets.

Company’s business insight.

Ecolab is a trusted partner at more than one million customer locations and globally a leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. With 2016 sales of $13 billion and 48,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions and on-site service to promote safe food, optimize water and energy use and improve operational efficiencies for customers in the food, healthcare, energy, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world.

R&D and innovation focus.

The R&D pipeline is strong with projects to address customer needs, which are clearly in favour of solutions that will enhance plant productivity, improve process efficiencies, comfortably comply with environmental norms as well as ensure safety in operations. 

Some examples of R&D projects are –

  1. Advanced chemistries to enable lower water consumption in cooling water systems, improve water quality in WWTPs with reduced sludge generation, generate predictable & cost effective biological control in water systems, lower operating costs in membrane-based water treatment plants eg. RO and enhance key processes for the end users.
  2. On-site automation and remote monitoring of customer (related) operations to bring about improved efficiency where water treatment chemicals are used under the control of 3DTrasar® in the areas of cooling systems, boilers and membrane-based water preparations.

In terms of academic-level research activity, we have had associations with selective national level institutions in the past for valuable references and collaborations. We will continue to follow this strategy in the future as part of our Research Development Programs.

Creating awareness for water solutions.

Ecolab conducts awareness programs on water management and its associated benefits at various forums on a regular basis viz. participation in national and international seminars which are conducted by organizations like CII, FICCI, NACE etc.

This is a very crucial part of our commitment towards our mission to conserve a vital natural resource like water.

Other significant areas are customer seminars where we have customized programs for cross-section of audiences depending on their needs.

Innovation on dispersing polymers.

This is an on-going process for Ecolab’s prestigious R&D team who work relentlessly with the company’s sales & marketing teams as well as customers to advance on dispersion polymers. The bar is raised to enable the polymers to handle high-stress conditions in terms of higher temperature, dissolved ions like calcium, magnesium, iron, silica, alkalinity conditions etc. This is a fundamental area of research in water chemistry where our company leads the industry and comes out with solutions to help the customers solve their deposition and corrosion problems.

Enhancing solutions using biocides.

The Bio-Control programs are the keys to successful cooling water solutions. The biocides play an integral role in these programs. Ecolab’s range of oxidizing and non-oxidizing biocides is wide in terms of their ability to contain all possible micro-bio problems in cooling water arising in various extreme conditions.

The uniqueness is in delivering successful Bio-Control programs, which are a combination of selecting the right biocide(s) for the right occasion and deployment of best practices. Our on-site teams are highly trained and capable of delivering such programs.

New solutions for corrosion inhibitors.

The challenge is to develop chemistries which are both in alignment to improved environmental compliances as well as superior performances when deployed to reduce our customers’ cost of operations. We have successful projects in the areas of corrosion inhibition. These would be synergistic blends of organic compounds extending applications from soft water and high chloride water with several advantages over generics, in terms of performance, cost and environmental compliances.

Range of water treatment substitutes.

Several superior substitutes are available in our product line which replaces alum and ferrous sulphate very effectively. These are specialized organic coagulants and flocculants which are selected in the product line based on their mole charge and molecular weights to have the best potency in various conditions. Our technical sales and service teams conduct detailed field tests to screen the right polymers for our clients, thus eventually delivering the best solution.

Insight on Trasar technology. 

Trasar® is a platform technology which is the base on which advanced levels of automation run cooling systems, boiler systems, RO membrane operations and DAF operations. It enables real-time monitoring and control through proactive detection of on-site activities in the water circuits. The on-site units are handled by Nalco’s 360 Service Network known as System Assurance Centre (SAC) which translates data and system information into an educated, prioritized set of actions. At all times, under all conditions, Nalco’s team of trained technical experts monitor your systems from a remote location and stand ready to intervene well BEFORE a concern becomes a problem.

This unique technology platform is expanding fast to help cater to our customers further and enable them to reduce their water footprint as well as perform critical activities at the same time.

This ensures “doing more with less” is indeed possible in the areas of water treatment.

Company’s growth strategies.

Our key priorities are to work with focused industry segments where we would be able to work with our valued customers to improve productivity, efficiency, quality and safety of their operations on a consistent basis in a predictable and reliable manner e.g. by using one of our technologies like 3DTrasar®.

Automation solutions for the chemical dosing requirements.

Recently, the successful development of a financial modelling tool provides a new way for businesses to factor water scarcity into decisions that support business growth and help ensure the availability of fresh water for our future generations. This is called Water Risk Monetizer. It is developed by Ecolab, a global leader in water technologies and services; Trucost, a part of S&P Dow Jones Indices, a global leader in valuing natural capital; and Microsoft, the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Challenges in water treatment chemicals sector.

One of the key areas is that water treatment has immense potential to not only solve technical problems for our customers but also to add significantly to their bottom line profitability since it can truly help reduce the total cost of operations of our customers and deliver tangible ROI.

Ecolab is committed to identifying opportunities and execute agreed upon ROIs. This is possible with the help of our unique technologies, trained people and following the best practices at our customer sites. We call this our e-ROISM outcome: the exponential value of improved performance, operational efficiency and sustainable impact.

Sustainability in chemical industry.

Ecolab is a front-runner in the chemical industry in areas of product responsibility towards sustainable chemistries. 

Our Customer Impact Product Profile process evaluates products based on more than 20 attributes related to human, environmental and societal impacts. Included in these considerations are environmental exposure, packaging and delivery systems, use of natural capital (water, energy and materials) and identification of disfavoured ingredients globally. As a result, sustainability factors are included early in the development process to reduce the potential impact of our products, from development through use and disposal.

Our products comply with global regulations and we lend our expertise to help shape the global standards. Ecolab works with key industry groups to define and implement product responsibility and best practices.

© Chemical Today Magazine

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