The Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar on Saturday said it has developed an innovative green technology — air nano bubble — that can reduce water usage in the textile sector by up to 90 per cent. “Textile is one of the most water-intensive industries, and there is an escalating need to address the water usage problem in the textile industry associated with water contamination. At IIT Ropar, we are inventing and incorporating new-age processing methods to conserve water for our future generations,” Rajeev Ahuja, Director of IIT Ropar, said in a statement. Neelkanth Nirmalkar, who has developed this technology, said as per a rough estimate, 200-250 litres of water is required to process one kg of cotton fabric. The laboratory reports suggest that the air nano bubble dispersed in water can reduce the water consumption and chemical dosage by 90-95 per cent, which ultimately saves 90 per cent of the energy consumption as well, Nirmalkar claimed.
In the textile industry, water is used at many steps required for fabric preparation, including for dyeing, finishing chemicals in textile substrates, de-sizing (the process of removal of sizing material from yarn), scouring, bleaching, and mercerising (chemical treatment of fabric to enhance affinity towards dye, the statement said.
At the same time, the textile industry also produces the highest volume of wastewater. It said that the major source of water pollution is the pre-treatment, dyeing, printing, and finishing of textile materials. “The technology is based on nano bubbles of air and ozone. The bubbles are hydrophobic, therefore interacting better than water with the fabric and distributing chemicals and dyes in the fabric much more efficiently than just water,” Nirmalkar said.
These bubbles are of a size equivalent to 1/10000th times of human hair. Ozone nanobubbles efficiently remove extra dye during fabric wash and degrade the dye in the water, said Nirmalkar, an assistant professor at the chemical engineering department of IIT, Ropar. Besides saving water consumption, water can be reused after processing with a nanobubble machine. He said that the Nano bubble serves as a carrier for the processing chemical and reduces the extra chemical required.
Treatment of garments through this patented technology helps maintain their real colour for outdoor usage. It helps obtain 2-D effects, easy care, water repelling, and softening of fabric,” Nirmalkar added.
IIT Ropar has developed eco-friendly technology under a start-up named NanoKriti Pvt Limited, which is also working towards cleaning the environment and is expanding in developing new applications ranging from water treatment to healthcare.
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