Mr. Pawan Agarwal, Managing Director, Naini Papers Ltd., shares the outlook of Naini Group towards water conservation and the contribution of their practices adopted towards maximising the usage of treated water at their production unit.
Our water treatment process and wastewater treatment strategies…
Water conservation is the need of the hour. Every industry which is consuming water has to be conscious of the fact that water is a very precious commodity that needs to be conserved for the future generation. So, keeping this view in mind, we are trying our best to preserve water at each and every point of consumption.
We have reduced the freshwater consumption at all points by replacing it with the backwater. We are also trying to recycle the backwater but facing some issues due to high TSS and TDS. For instance, if we add certain kinds of filters to reduce the TSS, there is an issue with the DTSM colour. Therefore, we are adopting various treatment processes, depending upon the quality of the backwater. Then, we are trying to do some kind of pre-treatment, review chemical treatment, and then, reduce the colour, thereby making it suitable for reuse. Thus, we are trying to use maximum backwater and minimum freshwater at various points of consumption.
We have the technologies available to reduce that water demand. For example, in the machine section, there is a section called the wire part – the forming section, where we have a lot of showers – high-pressure and low-pressure showers – the purpose of which is to keep the fabric clean. Now, we have installed an ultra-high-pressure shower, which operates at the pressure of 120 bar, and has a very small-sized nozzle – just 0.2 mm instead of 1 mm. As compared to conventional showers, the water consumption is very low – hardly 25 to 30 percent.
Likewise, Naini Papers is trying to save water at various points of consumption. And, we have been able to do all this successfully. We have adopted a multi-pronged approach.
Our investment into water treatment infrastructure…
Naini Group, over a period of time, has invested considerably in state-of-the-art technologies for both its companies, viz. Naini Papers Ltd. and Naini Tissues Ltd. to improve environmental performance. We have recently purchased fiberline from Valmet worth INR 400 crores which is water and energy-efficient. Meanwhile, in the case of the ultra-high-pressure shower, the investment is around INR 2 crores.
We have a very holistic approach. Whatever technologies we are trying to adopt at various locations – be it a new installation, upgradation, or replacement, we are very conscious of the objective that we have to reduce water. That being so, firstly, we try to assess the water footprint of the particular equipment and see if the present level of water consumption could be brought down further. That is the benchmark of Naini Papers for putting up any technology.
For example, water consumption in hardwood fiberline is around 14-15 m³ per tonne of pulp. In our case, the guarantee by the supplier is 9.5 m³ per tonne of pulp. So, we are undertaking such conscious efforts so as to reduce water at the point of consumption.
Water consumed per tonne of paper produced…
Water consumption used to be pretty high in the earlier days. Naini Papers kept on working towards water conservation and today, it varies between 35-40 m³ per tonne of finished paper, which is quite a low figure given the standards of the paper industry in India right now.
Measures undertaken to minimise the consumption…
We, at Naini Papers, have studied and done a diagnostic survey of all the available technologies in the market. Then, accordingly, we have tried to replace/upgrade the water conservation technologies. Water conservation cannot be the end of the pipe solution – one has to attack the source of the point of consumption and study each and every area of operation. We have installed mechanical seams in almost all the crucial and critical pumps, in our fiberline due to which, the leakage of water from the seams/tubes is almost zero. Thus, the cooling water given to the seams is being re-circulated which is how we have been able to save a substantial amount of freshwater.
The systems are created in such a way that not a single drop of water goes waste in any of the areas. We try to recollect it and then re-circulate it, and then, consciously, wherever we feel that this cannot be further recycled, we send it to the effluent treatment plant. Thus, we try to recycle and reuse it to the maximum possible extent in each and every area. Hence, in this way, we have tried to close the loop in every area of the operation itself.
Our plant uses an extensive effluent treatment system. Naini Papers has a biomethanation plant and an aerobic system. There is also a pre-treatment after the aerobic system.
Recent developments with regards to water management and treatment…
Naini Papers has recently installed – the Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) plant of 2 MLD. Thereby, we are using the membrane technology, followed by Mechanical Vapour Recompression (MVR) technology wherein we evaporate the rejects of the membrane section and recover the water after it condenses. We dissolve the slurry of waste. And there again, we evaporate and condense water from the effluents, and then, finally whatever is left is the salt which is disposed of separately. In this process, we are recovering around 99.5 percent of water.
It is still in the trial phase, where we are still establishing the results & the costs of operations, and spending around INR 5 crore on this whole system. We hope that this can open a new chapter altogether in the industry in India. We are now trying to scale it up to put up another plant of almost the same capacity so that we can see how it can run more efficiently and economically at Naini Papers.
Path-breaking steps taken…
At Naini Papers, we are committed to operating and growing our business in a socially responsible way. As an ‘Ethically Firm, Environmentally Strong’ company, we make sure that in everything we do, there is a strong commitment to wider, all-round social progress, as well as to a sustainable development that balances the needs of the present with those of the future.
Water conservation has to be achieved collectively as a team. Proper water audits and water conservation plans should be in place and everybody in an organisation has to be very careful about the consumption of freshwater. And that is what we have done in our company. Everybody is very cautious and conscious about how we have to save every single drop of water. And so, that is how you can really bring the water consumption levels down to a great extent.