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Companies today face water scarcity challenge. And helping these companies solve this challenge is Nalco – a part of Ecolab, which operates in three industry verticals of hygiene, water and energy. The company provides complete technology-based solutions (and not just the product) by working closely with its customers. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Vishal Sharma, managing director, Nalco Water India Limited, explains the importance of water treatment technologies for the growth of manufacturing sector and solutions offered by Nalco.
How critical is for the government to encourage adoption of right water management strategies to achieve its ‘Make in India’ objective?
If we continue with a situation of ‘water is a problem in India’, the ‘Make in India’ initiative will be difficult to move. Water is the key in every industry we can think of. As an example it takes 150 KL of water to produce one car. Hence, adoption of the right water strategies is very critical for India, and not just for Make in India but for the overall industrialisation of India in the future which is critical to support GDP growth rate.
What does Nalco brings to the table for companies/organisations that are looking to optimise water usage?
Nalco provides solutions across the industrial and institutional sectors - right from steel and paper plants, to hotels and hospitals, to power and fertiliser industries. Our solutions are all oriented to optimise water usage and enhance the recycling of this scarce resource.
Nalco solutions range from basic project or equipment based solutions like a simple RO to a more complex chemistry based solution where we could prevent fouling in cooling towers and increase the water cycles by twice to O&M solutions where we could take the complete accountability of ensuring the right quality of water at the right time and place at the right cost for the customer.
The big strength of Nalco is in the accurate diagnosis of the specific customer need/problem and then designing the right solution and implementing the same. The same is ensured over time consistently via our 3D Trasar systems which we can also remotely monitor at our system assurance center and practically guarantee the customer piece of mind with respect to their water needs.
Which are sectors/industries that offer huge potential for Nalco’s water treatment solution?
Nalco offers solutions to a wide range of sectors. Each of these sectors has differing industry growth rates, and there are organic and inorganic reasons for the same. Steel in India is driven by infrastructure and as our GDP grows, we will see this industry doubling in capacity, similar with the refining sector. When we come to newer and sunrise sectors like hotels, QSRs and the food & beverages industry, the growth rates are higher compared to the older sectors. All in all, every sector offers huge potential and the country has a lot to mature. Eventually, the big driver will be standards, and the adoption of the same by industries supported by compliance. That has more to do with the market growth rate than anything else.
And when we combine the market opportunity with the unique and broad solutions that Nalco brings, the opportunity is obvious.
Effluents/wastewater are often complex mixtures of different chemicals/materials. How do you offer an effective solution for this complex challenge?
Wastewater treatment (WWT) technology is not only about engineering or chemistry but both. These technologies need to marry to give the best outcome for the customer problem and the meeting of desired standards. So physical impurities are typically managed via engineering and chemical and biological impurities are managed better through chemical solutions. At times a biological solution may also be needed here. The most important component here again is the accurate diagnosis and providing specific solutions and this is the core expertise of Nalco.
Is water recycling/reuse one of the most effective way of handling two critical issues facing the industries – water availability and handling of effluent & wastewater?
Water recycling and reuse definitely will address the issue of availability, but the same may increase the issue of effluent and wastewater because as we use more chemistry to recycle water, we will also need to discharge the water with those chemistries eventually in the right way at the right parameters. This is very much possible and all technologies are available. It is only a question of adoption of the right technologies. Also as the adoption of the wastewater treatment technologies becomes more widespread, it will lead to a reduction of the cost as the industry leverages economies of scale.
Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) is one of the most talked about technologies. Is this solution practical when it comes to implementation?
Yes, ZLD is surely a practical solution for the effective management of water. It is used in several countries across the world and also in the developed markets. The cost of ZLD and the accompanying infrastructure is a potential deterrent, but when you compare that with not being able to operate a factory altogether, or being non-compliant to the regulations, zero liquid discharge is surely the right technology to use. There are a few providers of this technology in India and Nalco is one of them along with end-to-end solutions.
What are your short & long term growth plans for India?
We are very focused on extending our position as the leading water treatment solutions provider to the industrial and institutional markets and sectors in India. We will continue to drive new technologies into India, and will work towards educating the market and drive adoption of the right practices and solutions. We believe we are not just doing good business, but are addressing the real need for water conservation and reducing water usage in India.
We will continue to make investments in our infrastructure and our team in India, and the global team at Nalco is fully focused on supporting the India team towards serving our customers better and enhancing our franchise in India. India is a strategic market for Nalco (an Ecolab company) and we will continue to have a strong focus here supported by all the needed investments.