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Environmental Problem Statement for Tanneries:

The history of scientific development by CSIR-CLRI on tannery effluent treatment emerged from the simple fine screens and sedimentations removing hairs and coarse suspended floatables as unit operations, followed by chemical clariflocculation (for TSS), biological oxidation and bio-floculations removing biodegradable and non-biodegradable soluble organics as BOD and COD through unit processes are being practiced since more than four decades. The residual Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), which consists of fixed dissolved solids (FDS, ash-inorganic) and volatile dissolved solids (VDS- recalcitrant, xenobiotic and persistent organics) had percolated into ground water, partially increased the ground water contaminating potential. This has not only impacted an increased TDS emission load per square feet of leather making and hypersaline ground water, but also made the ground water became non-portable, and even unusable for leather processing in the traditional tannery clustered areas. Consequently, the zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system with Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant to concentrate the TDS as RO reject/brine solution, followed by multiple effect evaporators (MEE) or vaporizer (MVR) to crystalize the salt was implemented to recover and reuse the treated tannery effluents for leather processing since 2000. The cost, efficacy and affordability questioned these technologies to be a carbon-neutral technology, became expensive and might limit its application in the future by the tanners at high treatment cost/square feet of leather product. The 2016 solid waste management rules by MoEF and CC necessitated energy, resource recovering low cost technologies.

R&D and Technological Interventions and solutions:.

The Environmental Sciences lab of CSIR-CLRI has taken intensive scientific research and consultancy services on low cost tannery effluent treatments such as FIICO (MoU with Nigeria, Ethiopia,), CAACO, Submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor (SAMBR), low cost RO reject management by sequential precipitation of salts, RO Reject into biogas and bio-manure by Hybrid-UASB reactor coupled with advanced oxidation processes (AOP) for the removal of recalcitrant, xenobiotic and persistent organic pollutants. The research on solid waste management are focused towards formulating solar based leather solid waste derived nano-composite materials (POPs), bio-refinery for the sequential production of bio-diesel, bioethanol, bio-hydrogen and bio-methane (Major MoEF and CC Govt. of India funded onsite project at Ranipet), crude lipase and protease production from leather fleshing and its catalytic conversion of fat into bio-diesel, and protein, amino acids from the hydrolysate of leather solid waste (Major R&D project funded by Department of Science and Technology, Govt.of India). The bio-remediation of Chromium and salt contaminated soil at tannery clustered areas, Wastewater treatment through heterogeneous catalytic and biocatalytic processes, biomolecules extracted from Bacteria, Fungi and Algae Synthesis of nanomaterials, catalysts and photocatalyts from solid waste are also the prime areas focussed by the Environmental Sciences Research Team.

Pilot, scale up  and Large scale technology Demonstrations and Consultancy activities:

The pilot study conducted at CSIR-CLRI on FICCO, CAACO, FENTAN activated processes, Submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor for RO reject and raw tannery effluents treatment and is now ready for scale up on to site demonstrations signed MoUs with Ethiopia, Nigeria and few Indian companies. The recent R&D , pilot plant and consultancy activities of this research group focused on low cost biogas production, purification as two stage Bio-Scrubber for the separation of methane and CO2, Modified Pressure swing Adsorption (PSA) technique  coupled with enhanced diffusion and purging, selective separation and conversion of H2 CH4 and CO2 to CO, Hythane and methanol using namo-composite bi-metallic catalyst. These technologies are being scaled-up now at TATA International Leather Business Ltd., at Dewas (MP) for the production of biogas in to Hydrogen enriched bio-CNG (H2-BCNG) using chrome separated leather solid wastes, sludges co-digested with municipal organic solid wastes to operate cars and busses, besides the existing biogas plant at TATA Dewas, built by CSIR-CLRI in 2001 which is being operated successfully even today. The important vision statement of the research group is developing scientific insights on sludge –free, salt-free, (brine) solution-free, energy and resource recovering low cost leather solid and liquid waste management technologies.



For Further Information Please Contact

Head, Environmental Science Lab

CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute,
Adyar, Chennai - 600 020
Tel: +91 44 24437211
E-mail: pshanmugham@clri.res.in