industrial wastewater

With growing water scarcity and stringent environmental policies and regulations around the world, the water treatment industry faces many challenges in seeking innovative alternatives to recycle industrial wastewater

Until 2024, a number of new, advanced approaches, propelled by technological barriers and a heightened focus on sustainability and re-usability, will emerge. 

Thus, the following are some of the most promising and advanced strategies for industrial wastewater recycling. A new approach to the overview of the existing and desired mechanisms will be provided.

Advanced Membrane Technologies

For years, membrane filtration has been a central feature of wastewater treatment. By 2024, the latest membrane-based applications have already broken the conventional efficiency and effectiveness barriers. Nano-filtration and reverse osmosis are improving due to new porous materials such as graphene and ceramic composites, which allow higher flow rates and persist for a longer time. 

This does not exclusively optimize the filtration; however, it also prevents membrane fouling, one of the most frequent issues that reduce membranes’ productivity. The preparing material makes the separation process more efficient, the end product being water that can be reused in the industry.

Hybrid Treatment Systems

Another trend in this area is the integration of several treatment methods into one hybrid system. The hybridization of processes includes physical, chemical, and biological approaches since industrial wastewater contains different tricky-to-dissolve and separate compounds. 

For example, some applied hybrid systems can use coagulation/flocculation to separate “untreated solids,” then use biological treatment to break down “untreated organics,” and finally use membrane filtration to “polish off excess.” These systems are universal and can treat various types of industrial effluents, minimizing the risk that treated water will not meet established quality criteria.

Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs)

Advanced Oxidation Processes have emerged to become a game-changer for the water treatment industry. They entail the generation of extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that break down a plethora of organic pollutants. Ozone/hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet/hydrogen peroxide are two techniques currently under refinement for industrial application. In particular, the two processes are efficient for targetting complex and recalcitrant compounds that biological treatments find challenging to remove.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

One of the technologies that have been making a significant contribution to the revolution of the field of industrial wastewater management is artificial intelligence and machine learning. Enabling prediction of treatment performance, optimization of operational parameters, and even detection of potential issues before they occur, AI is becoming an increasingly critical asset within the wastewater management processes. 

Machine learning applications may cover the analysis of historical data to optimize treatment processes and increase reliability and efficiency. Overall, the technologies offer higher efficiency in the treatment process, lower operational costs, and more reliable compliance with environmental requirements.

Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) Systems

As it becomes easier to implement and profitable to operate, Zero Liquid Discharge systems become a more promising and acceptable solution for facilities that strive toward maximum water recycling while leaving the smallest possible environmental footprint. Zero Liquid Discharge engines operate as a total extraction of solid material from the waste, resulting in the conversion of all water into solid matter and reusable water. 

Often, the required outcome can only be achieved through the evaporation and crystallization processes. The novel evaporators and crystallizers consume much less energy and are more cost-efficient and sustainable than ever. All these advantages are exceptionally important for the areas with severe water scarcity, as almost every drop of water is genuinely precious there.

Decentralized Treatment Units

Decentralized treatment units are a convenient and adjustable method of industrial wastewater recycling. Since they have a modular design, these systems can be situated near facilities that generate wastewater without the necessity of extensive piping or soil transportation. As a consequence, decentralized units are the most appropriate for industries in secluded regions or those with highly variable volumes of wastewater influx. This form of treatment is an effective way to treat water nearby to ensure its constant monitoring over discharge regulations but at the same time maintain a smaller total impact on the environment.

Bio Electrochemical Systems

Bio electrochemical systems (BES) represent a novel and promising approach to wastewater treatment. These systems use microbial fuel cells or microbial electrolysis cells to treat wastewater and generate electricity or hydrogen simultaneously. The unique advantage of BES lies in its ability to harness the metabolic activities of microorganisms to break down organic pollutants. As research and development in this field advance, BES is expected to become a viable option for sustainable and energy-efficient wastewater treatment.

Electrocoagulation

Electrocoagulation is an emerging and powerful process for industrial wastewater treatment. A coagulant is caused by an electrical current to treat the subject water; the contaminants are removed from the water supply by sedimentation or flotation in this unequal coagulation reaction. It is especially promising when it comes to contaminated wastewater with extreme accumulations of heavy metals, oil, and suspended solids. Since EC isn’t a third-party method of treatment, this process usually offers low chemical dosing, small quantities of sludge, and therapy adaption to a greater number of wastewater.

Phytoremediation

One of the treatment technologies that are based on plants is phytoremediation, which is the contingent use of plants that extract, transfer, or immobilize contaminants from the wastewater. This approach relies on the ability of some plants to accumulate heavy metals and other pollutants through their roots, leaving the water clean. 

Its advantage is being cost-efficient and eco-friendly, which is why the idea is gaining popularity in multiple spheres. Despite being used primarily for soil remediation, some novel approaches have been developed for industrial wastewater. In instances when the industry has land capacity for this green treatment, it is possible to introduce the approach.

Anammox Process

The method is a sustainable biological approach to treating industrial wastewater with high levels of nitrogen contamination. Specifically, anammox bacteria oxidize ammonium and nitrite to generate nitrogen gas under anaerobic conditions. Anammox is an energy-efficient method of producing less sludge than the traditional nitrification-denitrification process. The approach is suitable for industries such as chemical production and food processing that contain high levels of nitrogen in their waste.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the water treatment industry faces a transformative horizon of managing and recycling industrial wastewater. The above strategies have a common value on innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. In the coming future, the above technologies will continue to evolve and be carried out in a direction that will help solve the issues of water scarcity and pollution by 2024. The industries that will have adopted these technologies will undoubtedly comply with the set regulations and, in the process, help conserve the earth’s most treasured resource, which is water.

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod is an Editor of Appclonescript.com, who is passionate for app-based startup solutions and on-demand business ideas. He believes in spreading tech trends. He is an avid reader and loves thinking out of the box to promote new technologies.