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Dyeing Printing & Finishing

Catalyx Pilots TWO System For Wastewater Treatment

Anaheim, Calif.-based Catalyx Inc. - a privately funded technology company interested in developing low-cost, sustainable technologies for distributed renewable energy generation, green manufacturing processes and water treatment - has developed a Two-Way Osmosis (TWO) system based on a unique membrane that employs both a forward osmosis and reverse osmosis concept. The patent-pending system recently was tested successfully with high biochemical oxygen demand and high chemical oxygen demand carpet dyeing wastewater, which typically is difficult to treat. According to Catalyx, its TWO system can treat the wastewater without the use of additional chemicals, and the resulting wastewater is rich in organics and may be incinerated in a boiler or anaerobically digested to produce biogas.

Standard nanofiltration or reverse osmosis membrane equipment produces a waste stream full of chemicals because a chemical pretreatment must be added for the process to remove synthetic and natural oils from the wastewater. In addition, the pressure occurring during reverse osmosis presses the waste against the membrane, causing degradation and a slowdown in performance.

"Our vision is to practice 'subtraction' while treating water, instead of 'addition' of chemicals as is typically done in the treatment of high organic waste," said Juzer Jangbarwala, inventor and founder, Catalyx. "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."

Catalyx has tested its membrane in other wastewater treatment applications and sees great potential for the technology. "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," Jangbarwala said. "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."

March/April 2009