As the impact of climate change becomes profound, sustainability is taking center stage in the policies and programs of governments and corporates around the world. There is an imminent need for balancing the growth and the resultant impact on the environment. Many governments have already pledged to become carbon neutral over the next few decades.

The United Nations (UN) has set out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” and are intended to be achieved by 2030. Some of these goals are linked to the ‘3Rs’ principle i.e. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reduce waste generation, reuse the usable products or components, and recycle the waste for further use.

Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) is a pioneering technology designed on this principle and is used to recycle the entire wastewater from a process. The focus of ZLD is to produce clean water suitable for reuse, thereby saving money and benefitting the environment. ZLD systems deploy advanced wastewater/desalination treatment technologies to purify and recycle virtually all the wastewater produced.

ZLD Business (Evaporator) in India has grown exponentially in the recent past to become INR 450 crore market in FY20. Multiple factors are driving the adoption of this technology in India, such as:

  • Policy mandate for ZLD adoption in India: Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to mandate ZLD in the textiles sector in 2008.
  • Stringent actions from Pollution Control Boards (PCBs): In 2013, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APCB) issued notices to Dr. Reddy Labs and other bulk drug manufacturing companies in the Hussain Sagar area to stop polluting the groundwater resources and achieve Zero Liquid Discharge.
  • Sector focus approach by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB): In 2015, ZLD guidelines were introduced for four industrial sectors in India – textile (wet processing), tanneries, distilleries, and pulp & paper.
  • Entry of several Indian and global companies into the Indian ZLD business: Several Indian EPC companies, including Thermax, VA Tech Wabag, Triveni Engineering, and international companies like GEA, Suez, etc., have installed ZLD plants to tap the growing demand for ZLD compliance in India.

Based on insights from the leading ZLD suppliers, the Indian ZLD market is likely to grow at 13%-17% CAGR and become INR 650-750 crore business by FY24.

Today an increasing number of companies are realizing substantial financial and environmental benefits from the implementation of sustainable business practices such as ZLD. It is encouraging to see that companies are increasingly investing in sustainable technologies and seeking sustainable products. These initiatives will contribute toward overcoming climate change and present a greener world to future generations.

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Rudranil Roysharma

Roysharma is the Director for Frost & Sullivan's Energy & Environment Practice - MEASA

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