Water Recovery in the Textile Industry

Large amounts of process water are used in the textile industry throughout the world. Continuing environmental and legal pressures, together with recent shortages of good quality water, is driving industry to seek cost-effective recycling solutions.

Crossflow membrane filtration and colour inactivation technologies can

  • provide in excess of 90% hot water recovery at process temperature
  • offer better security of water supply at a consistent quality and temperature for reuse
  • reduce process operational costs involving softening, heating, cooling and disposal
  • address effluent issues such as colour, pesticides and organo-phosphates
  • provide better quality and colour of washed wool
  • reduce impact on factory space by having minimal footprint

Leading to a payback of 2-3 years

PCI Membranes has been involved in process development projects using membrane technology (ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis) for a variety of applications within the textile industry. This has culminated in a production-scale plant designed to recover 95% dye-house effluent water for reuse and a number of production-scale plants for the recovery and reuse of scour house rinse water.

Recovery and reuse of scour house rinse water

Sheep’s wool has traditionally been washed in hot water and detergent to remove contaminants. This can be an expensive process producing large volumes of hot wastewater which is difficult and expensive to discharge conventionally. Crossflow membrane technology is a cost-effective solution to the escalating costs associated with waste discharges.

Using ultrafiltration membrane technology, the separated hot water and detergent is recycled for reuse and the unwanted suspended solids are concentrated by up to 70:1. The resultant slurry can be further concentrated by evaporation thereby minimising disposal costs.

Other applications offering economic benefit where membranes have been utilised in the textile industry include:

  • Dye bath recovery and reuse
  • Spin finish and size recovery
  • Water jet loom motive water recovery
  • Recovery of detergent and water in secondary scouring