Journal of environmental management vol:73 issue:3 pages:267-274
Process intensification is a concept that was recently introduced in the chemical industry for the purpose of reducing environmental emissions, energy consumption and materials consumption. The principle of process intensification can be used in related industries as well; textile finishing is an exemplary activity where it may have a significant long-term added value. Membrane technology can be a key factor in the recycling and reuse of energy, water and chemicals. In this paper, an integral approach for treatment of aqueous process streams in the textile finishing industry is proposed. The proposed process includes microfiltration pretreatment of used finishing baths, followed by a dual nanofiltration (NF) unit. These can be operated at elevated temperatures so that no further energy is needed for preheating of recycle streams. In the proposed treatment scheme, the first of the NF units uses a loose nanofiltration membrane that retains most of the organic fraction but not the dissolved salts. The second unit uses a tight nanofiltration membrane, which produces a permeate fraction that can be directly reused, and a concentrated brine that is fed to a membrane crystallizer. In this unit, salts are recovered and recycled for use in new dye baths. The concentrate stream from the first NF unit is fed to a membrane distillation unit, where the high temperature is advantageously used for further concentration. The remaining fraction is not reusable, given the fact that most dyes are hydrolyzed after exhaustion of the bath, but has a significant energetic value, which can be utilized for compensation of energy losses and preheating of suppletion water, by using an incineration process with energy recovery.