Process Pollution Prevention Towards Zero Discharge / Edition 1

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This book discusses pathways to achieve pollution prevention and waste minimization at the sources leading toward zero discharge. Coverage includes life cycle assessment, industrial ecology, eco-industrial parks, green engineering, and sustainable chemical and allied processes and products development. The pulp and paper industry is introduced as a case study in demonstrating how this industry is achieving pollution prevention goals by various techniques, and how this industry has become a minimum impact industry, moving towards achieving zero discharge status in most process areas.
Featuring a collection of expert authors, this book is essential reading for industrial ecologists and engineers, material scientists, and state and federal officials.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Das authoritatively discusses pollution control in the industry and processes that could lead to zero discharge." (Journal of Hazardous Materials, August 2006)

" Extremely interesting cases histories …could make a popular book for engineering students and our future scientists." (Chemistry and Industry, 19th June 2006)

"…it would be useful for specialized audiences in academic or professional libraries covering the areas of engineering or environmental studies." (E-STREAMS, May 2006)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471469674
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/25/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 744
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

TAPAS K. DAS, PhD, PE, DEE, is a chemical and environmental engineer working with the Department of Ecology Air Quality Program at Olympia, Washington. He is currently engaged in a state and nationwide study to evaluate air toxic emissions and other pollutants from Kraft and Sulfite pulping processes. Dr. Das holds a BSc in chemical engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, and PhD from Bradford University, Bradford, England. Dr. Das was a postdoctoral fellow at London's Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Department of Chemical Engineering, and at Princeton University. He has wide practical and theoretical experience and expertise in various areas including air toxics and aerosols, wastewater characterization and treatment, solid waste management, and combustion.

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Read an Excerpt

Toward Zero Discharge

Innovative Methodology and Technologies for Process Pollution Prevention

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-46967-X

Chapter One


TAPAS K. DAS Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, Washington 98504, USA

KENNETH L. MULHOLLAND Kenneth Mulholland & Associate, Inc., 27 Hartech Dr, Wilmington, DE 19807, USA

Our avid interest in environmental issues can be traced directly to awareness that as the world's population continues to expand and to consume natural resources, humanity faces shortages that threaten quality of life in developed areas and elsewhere on the earth, life itself. In attempts to find solutions to these problems, we have created an ever growing inventory of man-made chemicals, ostensibly to improve the quality of life that has in fact contributed to the pollution of our environment. "Pollution prevention," an environmental buzz word since the 1990s, encompasses designing processes that generate no waste to plants that emit only harmless compounds such as pure water.

Zero discharge (ZD) is different from pollution prevention in that it seeks to convert wastes into useful products or valuable resources. Sometimes the conversion of wastes into resources having value to another industry is more efficient than the implementation of pollution prevention techniques. Within the ZD paradigm the goalof resource extraction, refining, or commodity production is approached in much the same way that the mining, pulp and paper, petroleum, and chemical industries go about processing raw materials.

In this book, we will focus on the best available industrial processes, techniques, and technologies that treat waste streams, as well as innovative and emerging processes that have better potential for achieving the highest standards in pollution prevention at the plant level, leading to zero discharge. To move toward ZD via "process pollution prevention" (P3), industries must use processes that deploy materials and energy efficiently enough to neutralize contaminants in the waste stream. The ultimate goal is to remove pollutants from the waste streams and convert them into products or feeds for other processes. Logically then, P3 refers to industrial processes by which materials and energy are efficiently utilized to achieve the end product(s) while reduce or eliminate the creation of pollutants or waste at the source.


A waste is defined as an unwanted byproduct or damaged, defective, or superfluous material of a manufacturing process. Most often, in its current state, it has or is perceived to have no value. It may or may not be harmful or toxic if released to the environment. Pollution is any release of waste to environment (i.e., any routine or accidental emission, effluent, spill, discharge, or disposal to the air, land or water) that contaminates or degrades the environment.


In this book, we define pollution prevention fairly broadly as any action that prevents the release of harmful materials to the environment. This definition manifests itself in the form of a pollution prevention hierarchy, with safe disposal forms at the base of the pyramid and minimizing the generation of waste at the source at the peak (Figure 1.1).

In contrast, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) definition of pollution prevention recognizes only source reduction, which encompasses only the upper two tiers in the hierarchy-minimize generation and minimize introduction (USEPA, 1992). The EPA describes the seven-level hierarchy of Figure 1.1 as "environment management options." The European Community, on the other hand, includes the entire hierarchy in its definition of pollution prevention. The tiers in the pollution prevention hierarchy are broadly described as follows.

Minimize Generation. Reduce to a minimum the formation of nonsalable byproducts in chemical reaction steps and waste constituents (such as tars, fines, etc.) in all chemical and physical separation steps.

Minimize Introduction. Cut down as much as possible on the amounts of process materials that pass through the system unreacted or are transformed to make waste. This implies minimizing the introduction of materials that are not essential ingredients in making the final product. For examples, plant designers can decide not to use water as a solvent when one of the reactants, intermediates, or products could serve the same function, or they can add air as an oxygen source, heat sink, diluent, or conveying gas instead of large volumes of nitrogen.

Segregate and Reuse. Avoid combining waste streams together with no consideration to the impact on toxicity or the cost of treatment. It may make sense to segregate a low-volume, high toxicity wastewater stream from high-volume, low toxicity wastewater streams. Examine each waste stream at the source and identify any that might be reused in the process or transformed or reclassified as valuable coproducts.

Recycle. Many manufacturing facilities, especially chemical plants, have internal recycle streams that are considered part of the process. In addition, however, it is necessary to recycle externally such materials as polyester film and bottles, Tyvek envelopes, paper, and spent solvents. Recover Energy Value in Waste. As a last resort, spent organic liquids, gaseous streams containing volatile organic compounds, and hydrogen gas can be burned for their fuel value. Often the value of energy and resources required to make the original compounds is much greater than that which can be recovered by burning the waste streams for their fuel value. Treat for Discharge. Before any waste stream is discharged to the environment, measure should be taken to lower its toxicity, turbidity, global warming potential, pathogen-content and so on. Examples include biological wastewater treatment, carbon adsorption, filtration, and chemical oxidation.

Safe Disposal. Render waste streams completely harmless so that they do not adversely impact the environment. In this book, we define this as total conversion of waste constituents to carbon dioxide, water, and nontoxic minerals. An example would be post treatment of a wastewater treatment plant effluent in a private wetland. So-called secure landfills do not fall within this category unless the waste is totally encapsulated in granite.

In this book, we will focus on the lower three tiers of the pollution prevention hierarchy; that is, recovering the energy value in waste, treating for discharge, and arranging for safe disposal. To improve this bottom line, however, businesses should address the upper three tiers first: that is minimize generation, minimize introduction, and segregate and reuse (Mulholland and Dyer, 1999). This is where the real opportunity exists for reducing the volume of wastes to be treated. The volume of the waste stream, in turn, has a strong influence on treatment cost and applicability. Thus useful technologies such as the ultraviolet treatment of groundwater or condensation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from air are not economic at large volumetric flow rates. The focus has shifted from "end-of-the-pipe" solutions to more fundamental structural changes in industrial processes.


Zero discharge, or something very close to it, is the ultimate goal of P3, while the processes themselves are the tools and pathways to achieve it. Thus industries were to be reorganized into "clusters" in which the wastes or by-products of each industrial process were fully matched with others industries' input requirements, the integrated process would produce no waste of any kind. As described later in the book, this solution is being applied in scattered areas throughout the world, from modern industrial nations such as Denmark to developing countries such as Bangladesh.

Traditionally, pollution control technology processed a "waste" until it was benign enough for discharge into the environment. This was achieved through dilution, destruction, separation or concentration. Within the ZD paradigm, many of these processes will still be applied, but as mentioned earlier, the goal will be resource extraction, refining or commodity production, not simply removal of waste from the premises. Engineering firms will need to develop conversion technologies that create "designer wastes" to meet input specifications of other industries.

Research and development efforts are under way around the world to promote the concept of zero discharge and to work toward it in selected industries. The United Nations University's (UNU) Zero Emissions Research Initiatives (ZERI), headquartered in Tokyo, is a leader in this work (see Chapter 2), with the support of major multinational corporations. One vice president of DuPont has said that whenever the company eliminates a pound of waste, the material most likely ends up in a product. At DuPont, titanium dioxide wastes are converted to high-purity table salt, fertilizer and food-grade carbon dioxide.

Of course almost every manufacturing process generates wastes. For example, brewing beer extracts only 8 to 10% of the nutrients from grains. Pilot studies have been conducted employing spent brewery wastes for aqua-culture and cattle raising. Another example is a flue gas treatment for coal-fired electric plants. Using ammonia and electron beam irradiation, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur are converted into ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate for use in fertilizer. Many other ZD processes are being developed, as discussed throughout the book.


What is in this book? The thirteen chapters are divided into Part I, which presents methodology, strategies, evaluation and quantification, and Part II, which explores technologies and applications for pollution prevention and zero discharge.

The subject matter of Chapter 2 is zero discharge itself. Natural resource consumption and waste generation have accelerated tremendously in recent years, placing enormous stress on the delicate ecosystems. Although development is necessary to meet the needs of growing populations and increasing sophisticated societies, it must be sustainable, fostering harmonious interaction between nature and the world's industries, economies and lifestyles. This in turn requires long-term global perspectives, together with more efficient technologies and systems for production, resource conservation and waste minimization. The earth's resources are not boundless, and the challenges just identified must be answered quickly. Fortunately, an answer can be found in ZD, which is no more than applied industrial ecology at the manufacturing level: a practical approach with a concrete methodology to redesign industrial processes so they have no discharges. Chapter 2 describes this methodology and outlines a path for the transition from wasteful, polluting industrial practices to ZD.

As the name implies, life cycle assessment (LCA) (Chapter 3) evaluates the entire life cycle of a product, process, activity, or service, not just simple economics at the time of delivery. For example, the total environmental impact of a product is a factor, which is sometimes oversimplified. Stakeholders under the LCA concept go beyond the immediate customer and extend to society as a whole, which may be concerned about such issues as natural resource depletion or the impact of degradation on the environmental. Companies that subject their operations to LCA, consider the environmental performance of products and processes to be a key issue. Many companies have found it not only responsible but also advantageous to explore ways of moving beyond compliance using pollution prevention strategies and environmental management systems to improve environmental performance. In many cases, LCA leads to better business practices. Chapter 3 illustrates how lifecycle analysis (LCA) can be a very effective tool in quantifying the environmental burdens of a product, process, or activity, looking at the whole cycle from extraction of resources through to recycling or disposal. Case studies are presented, including LCA on biorenewables vs fossil fuels and chlorine vs UV disinfection technologies.

Chapter 4 addresses risk assessment, which is an organized process used to describe and estimate the likelihood of adverse health and environmental impacts from exposures to chemicals released to air, water, and land. Risk assessment is also a systematic, analytical method used to determine the probability of adverse effects. A common application of risk assessment methods is to evaluate human health and ecological impacts of chemical releases to the environment. Information collected from environmental monitoring or modeling is incorporated into models of human or worker activity and exposure, and conclusions on the likelihood of adverse effects are formulated. As such, risk assessment is an important tool for making decisions with environmental and public health consequences, along with economic, societal, technological, and political consequences of a proposed action. This chapter addresses the assessment of risks to human health as well as ecological risks, and, briefly, ecological risk management. In addition, a case study outlines the high costs of failing in the area of risk communication: managers of an oil-and-water separation plant that experienced a brief accidental smoke release learned the heavy penalty of having failed to communicate with the facility's neighbors.

The role of economics in pollution prevention is very important, even as important as the ability to identify technologies changes to the process, new and emerging technologies, zero-discharge technologies, technologies for biobased engineered chemicals, products, renewable energy sources and its associated costs. Chapter 5 shows some methods that can be used to assess the costs of implementing pollution prevention technologies and making, cost comparisons to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of various operations. The concept of best available control technologies is introduced, and we analyze the costs and benefits of manufacturing biobased products. The topics treated illustrate that biobased new development can lead to sustainable economic progress and a healthier planet.

Sustainable development is about creating a business climate in which better goods and services are produced using less energy and materials with no or less waste and pollution. Natural steps and systems are a model for thinking about how to produce, consume and live in sustainable cycles: nature produces little or no waste, relies on free and abundant energy from sun and uses renewable resources. In Chapter 6, we focus on a framework that integrates environmental, social, and economic interests into effective chemical and allied business strategies.

Chapter 7 describes some successful ZD processes and technologies. Case studies presented examples of zero discharge technologies and by-product synergies associated with air pollutants, wastewaters, and solid wastes.

Chapters 8, 9, and 10 address process and technology development tools for achieving pollution prevention at the source for air, water, and solid and hazardous wastes. These chapters summarize some of the best available industrial processes, techniques and technologies that are sustainable and inherently environmentally friendly, and some of the best available control technologies, with process descriptions, theoretical background, and advantages and disadvantages. Each of these chapters introduces some of the innovative processes that are emerging for P3 applications.


Excerpted from Toward Zero Discharge Copyright © 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents




1.1 Waste as Pollution.

1.2 Defining Pollution Prevention.

1.3 The Zero Discharge Paradigm.

1.4 The Structure of the Book.



2.1 Sustainability, Industrial Ecology and Zero Discharge.

2.2 Why Zero Discharge is Critical to Sustainability.

2.3 The New Role of Process Engineers and Engineering Firms.

2.4 Zero Discharge Methodology.

2.5 Making the Transition.

2.6 In the Full Zero Discharge Paradigm.

2.7 Separation—A Key Conversion Technology.

2.8 Constraints and challenges.


3.1 What is Life Cycle Assessment?

3.2 Conducting LCA.

3.3 LCA and LCI Software Tools.

3.4 Evaluating the Life Cycle Environmental Performance of Two Disinfection Technologies.

3.5 Case Study: Comparison of LCA of Electricity from Biorenewables and Fossil Fuels.


4.1 Health Risk Assessment.

4.2 Assessing the Risks of Some Common Pollutants.

4.3 Ecological Risk Assessment.

4.4 Risk Management.

4.5 Communicating Information on Environmental and Health Risks.

4.6 Environmental Information on the Internet.


5.1 Economics of Pollution Control Technology.

5.2 Best Available Control Technology: Application to Gas Turbine Power Plants.

5.3 Case Study: The North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Plan.

5.4 Sustainable Economy and The Earth.


6.1 Introduction.

6.2 Sustainable Production and Growth for the Chemical Process Industries.

6.3 Integrating Life Cycle Assessment in Sustainable Product Development.

6.4 Biorenewable Energy Resources.

6.5 Applying the Metrics of Sustainability to Transform Business Practices and Public Policy.

6.6 Toward a Hydrogen-based Sustainable Economy.

6.7 Bio-Based Chemicals and Engineered Materials.

6.8 Eco-Efficiency and Eco-industrial Parks.

6.9 Process Intensification and Microchannel Reaction.



7.1 Zero Water Discharge Systems.

7.2 Case Study: Gas Turbine NOx Emissions at General Electric.

7.3 Questions of Regulatory Policy.

7.4 Smokestack Emissions.

7.5 Eco-Industrial Parks: Model Zero Discharge Communities.


8.1 Some On-going Pollution Prevention Technologies.

8.2 Some Emerging and Innovative Processes.


9.1 Advances in Wastewater Treatment Technologies.

9.2 Some Emerging and Innovative Processes.

9.3 Groundwater Quality.


10.1 Solid Waste Treatment: Some Perspectives on Recycling.

10.2 Plastic Recycling in a Developing Country: A Paradoxical Success Story.

10.3 From Waste to Energy: Catalytic Steam Gasification of Poultry Litter.


11.1 Energy Integration and Heat Exchange Networks.

11.2 Mass Integration.

11.3 Water Optimization and Integration.

11.4 Industrial Applications of Heat Integration and Mass Integration.

11.5 Further Reading.

11.6 Final Thoughts.


12.1 Environmental Management in the Pulp and Paper Industry.

12.2 Pollution Prevention in the Pulp and Paper Industry.

12.3 Resource Recovery and Reuse.


13.1 Three Case Studies.

13.2 Additional Concerns Addressed by Zero Discharge Technology.

13.3 Other Emission Recovery and Control Processes.

13.4 Conclusions.

Epilogue — Final Thoughts.


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