Catalyx, Inc. Uses Forward Osmosis to Recycle Textile/Carpet Dyeing Wastewater and Enable Waste Stream to Produce Energy
piloted its patent-pending Two-Way Osmosis (TWO) system for recycling of
difficult to treat, high biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and high chemical
oxygen demand (COD) carpet dyeing wastewater. The system utilizes a unique
membrane to employ the Forward Osmosis concept (a pressure free water
transport mechanism also used by plant roots) combined with the more common
reverse osmosis concept.
Carpet and textile dyeing mills use copious amounts of water in their
dyeing operations. In many areas, the shortage of fresh water is hampering
operations. Conventional nanofiltration and/or reverse osmosis membrane
equipment requires very high levels of chemical pre-treatment of the
wastewater to remove the synthetic and natural oils which foul membranes,
creating a chemical-laden concentrated waste stream after the water is
removed. The Catalyx TWO system can treat the water streams without chemicals,
enabling the concentrated wastewater that is rich in organics to be
incinerated in a boiler or anaerobically digested to produce biogas.
Nature uses forward osmosis to transport water throughout living organisms
such as plants and animals. Commercial reverse osmosis membrane systems do the
opposite — deriving pure water from saltwater. Reverse osmosis applies very
high hydraulic pressure on the saltwater to extract pure water — against the
water’s natural tendency. These membranes cannot operate in the forward
osmosis mode because they have to be built to withstand such pressures.
Reverse osmosis pressure pushes the fouling contaminants against the
membranes and causes degradation in performance, and increase in operating
costs. Thus state-of-the-art membranes have largely been excluded when it
comes to high organic, fouling content wastewater.
vision is to practice ‘subtraction’ while treating water, instead of
‘addition’ of chemicals, as is typically done in the treatment of high organic
waste. By concentrating the waste through simple water subtraction, it opens
up new possibilities, such as reclaiming the process chemicals and generating
biogas from the organics.”
Mr. Jangbarwala noted, “While the eventual goal at Catalyx is to design a
system which can utilize this unique membrane for desalination of seawater, we
are currently only focused on the system’s ability to dewater very difficult
to treat wastewater.”
Catalyx has successfully tested the TWO system for other applications,
including concentration of ion exchange waste by 50% at a coal bed methane
(CBM) produced water treatment plant, recycling tannery wastewater, and
concentrating animal farm wash water and landfill leachate water to enhance
The core Forward Osmosis technology of the TWO systems will be especially
valuable for offshore facilities and ships. It has been successfully tested to
reduce “bilge” water volume from ships, using seawater as the draw solution,
and no power input. Similarly, Catalyx believes it will be very successful in
enhancing treatment efficiency of process and sewage wastewater on off shore
Mr. Jangbarwala added, “Osmotic pressure is a source of energy, and the
differential can be used to either convert that energy to electricity or as a
tool for energy storage. An exciting possibility with our unique membrane is
to build an ‘energy storage’ system for offshore windmills. High winds are not
always synchronized with the grid requirements. During the high wind periods,
we could desalinate seawater using the excess electricity, and during low
winds, allow the osmotic pressure differential between seawater and the
desalinated water to generate electricity and feed the grid.”
Additional technical background on the forward osmosis process is
available at http://www.catalyxinc.com under technology/wastewater treatment.
About Catalyx, Inc.:
Catalyx, Inc. (http://www.catalyxinc.com) is a privately funded technology
incubator founded in 2002. For six years, it has been involved in the
development of low cost, sustainable technologies for distributed renewable
energy generation, green manufacturing processes and water treatment
technologies. The developed technologies are placed in spin off companies for
commercialization. In 2009, Catalyx will be releasing a stream of its
developed technologies for commercialization.
Catalyx has spun off the following companies successfully:
Energix Research, Inc. (http://www.energixresearch.com) develops green
manufacturing processes via a patent pending electrically activated catalysis
Catalyx Nanotech, Inc. http://www.catalyxnano.com manufactures
nanomaterials from low cost methane using a patented process.
Catalyx Fluid Solutions, Inc. http://www.catalyxfs.com manufactures a
capacitive desalting device for water using carbon nanomaterials.
Catalyx Engineering, LLC http://www.catalyxeng.com is a high precision
machine shop and full service engineering company.
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SOURCE Catalyx, Inc.