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- August 2012

“India needs to aim at standards that are followed by Singapore,” says Rajendra Halbe, Director, Clean Technology Group of A.T.E. Enterprises Pvt Ltd. In this interview, Halbe shares with World Pumps India the market and emerging technologies in water and wastewater treatment, future plans of A.T.E. Enterprises’ Clean Technology Group and more. Read on...

Please explain what is clean technology? Which are the segments you cater to under the Clean Technology Group? Which are the major projects undertaken by the Clean Technology Group of A.T.E. Enterprises Pvt Ltd? According to Nicholas Parker1, “Clean technology encompasses knowledgebased technology products & services that add economic value by reducing cost and raising productivity while minimising the use of natural resources that impact on environment public health.” In keeping with A.T.E. Enterprises’ value towards sustainable development and environmental protection, our Clean Technology Group offers world class products and solutions in water & wastewater management, green air conditioning, energy efficient pumping solutions, renewable energy solutions based on solar thermal power and biogas and remote monitoring for measuring carbon foot print. The Clean Technology business caters to municipal corporations, industry verticals, building and commercial segments. A.T.E. Enterprises has successfully executed more than 200 projects in the clean technology space, including turnkey projects for Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Delhi Jal Board, Volkswagen, Tata Motors, Tessitura Monti, Alok Textiles, NSL Textiles, to mention a few.

How big is the market for water and wastewater in India? What is the level of awareness in India about water generated by wastewater treatment plants? In India, there is a treatment market of about US$ 2000-2100 million; industrial and municipal segments account for almost 90 percent of this2 . Equipment manufacturers in water & wastewater from developed countries have either come to India, or have ensured that their technologies are easily available through partnerships. There is greater awareness to treat and reuse; in some Indian cities pollution norms are very strict and treatment has become mandatory. However, metros and large cities (more than 100,000 inhabitants) are treating only about 29.2 percent of their wastewater; smaller cities treat only 3.7 percent of their wastewater3. So, despite the wastewater sector witnessing major growth in the last decade, due to government support and private participation, the problem remains enormous. For instance, it is estimated that less than 20 percent of domestic and 60 percent of industrial wastewater is treated. Currently, 75 percent of rural population and 85 percent of urban population have access to public water supply4. Wastewater management in India, therefore, is becoming critical.


Interview - August 2012

Please explain the processes involved to treat sewerage and wastewater? Sewage is contaminated water discharged from domestic, industrial, municipal and other sources. The treatment consists of physical, chemical and biological processes; a sewage treatment plant is designed to remove organic and inorganic contaminants from the water, so that they can be recycled and reused. Sewage is collected and transported through a network of pipes and pumping stations to a treatment plant. Normally, the sewage goes through a three-stage treatment of primary, secondary and tertiary. The treated water can be reused to flush toilets, gardening or for recharging ground water. At locations where there is acute water shortage, added tertiary treatment can improve the quality of water to such an extent that it can be used for all applications except for drinking. Singapore is an ideal example, for us to follow in near future. Please tell us about the technical specifications of the equipment’s used in water and wastewater treatment plants? The specifications are customised to meet customer’s treatment needs and varies from project to project. For offering standard and customised solutions, A.T.E. Enterprises has tie-ups with leading German companies like Sulzer ABS Products for large wastewater pumps, agitators and aeration components; Huber SE for MBRs and large screens; New Logic Inc USA for vibratory membranes in tertiary treatment; and Ebara & Iwaki, Japan for hydropneumatic pumping and chemical dosing. In addition, A.T.E. Envirotech, a company in the A.T.E. Group, offers the entire gamut of project engineering and execution. What are the Standards (National and International) to which water and wastewater treatment plant, RO plants and effluent treatment plant should conform to? For Water, the Indian standards are IS-22961982, for 5 classes of inland surface waters. These are in general conformity with WHO standards, especially with regard to drinking water. For treated effluent, India uses the MINAS (Minimal National Standards)5. As treatment technologies are updated, the developed countries have made major improvements in their standards for effluent. India needs to aim at standards that are followed by Singapore, where they use treated water for drinking.

There is lack of skilled manpower to operate wastewater treatment plant. Do you train the client’s personnel to operate the plants or do you employ your own manpower? In short, once a project is completed who looks after the operation and maintenance of the plant? The ATE Group consists of 9 companies, with an all-India network of sales and service offices. With its own O&M Services, We are uniquely positioned to manage customer base and service needs. Remote monitoring of these plants makes the core process expertise available to customers, regardless of where the sites are located.

combined with worldwide installations, have proven that HUBER VRM® membrane systems are a cost-effective and reliable solution for producing high-quality service water from polluted wastewater. Another differentiation we offer is the advanced membrane based VSEP vibratory shear enhanced processing (VSEP) technology, for difficult-to-treat waste streams. VSEP is a patented technology from New Logic Research Inc, USA.

How cost effective are these technologies? What is the minimum period required for the wastewater treatment plant to return profits? Prioritywise, the Indian mindset is to make investment in plant and equipment that would give increase production and profits. Increasingly, enlightened plant owners are investing in wastewater treatment because of environmental concerns; however, in most cases, a decision to invest in treating wastewater/effluent is based on ROI (return on investment). As a single window solution provider, with an experienced team of researchers, engineers and technical personnel, A.T.E. Enterprises’ effluent treatment plants have an average ROI of 4-5 years.

What are the services you offer to overseas markets in water and wastewater treatment? Our wastewater management includes supply and execution of new turnkey projects, and a comprehensive range of services like feasibility studies for existing plants, technology enhancement & treatability studies for incorporating new treatment technologies, upgradation of existing treatment plants, etc. This entire activity is supported by our own in-house R&D and engineering teams. So far, we have successfully executed projects in 9 countries, major among being: petroleum effluent treatment in Puerto Rico; treatment of sugar effluent in Zambia and Ethiopia; jet mixing system for biodigester for distillery effluent in Tanzania; synthetic textile effluent in Malaysia; anaerobic biodigester for synthetic textile effluent in Indonesia.

What are the latest advancements in water and wastewater treatment technologies? Recent developments have resulted in breakthrough technologies in wastewater treatment for reuse and recycle. One such innovation is membrane treatment. Though the use of membrane for treating wastewater was introduced about some 30 years back, in the last decade, there has been a rapid increase in the volume of wastewater treated with membranes to exceptionally high quality standards. In fact, today, more municipal wastewater treatment facilities are using membrane-based technologies; this number is on the rise, as this technology offers unparalleled capabilities in meeting stringent standards.

What are the future plans of Clean Technology Group of A.T.E. Enterprises Pvt Ltd? There is a great synergy between our wastewater and comfort conditioning businesses; though seemingly different, both these business complement each other. While green air-conditioning is an ideal solution for human comfort at reduced energy and low carbon footprint, water requirements for direct and indirect evaporative cooling applications need to be kept in mind. A.T.E. Enterprises’ R & D team is working on a process where the treated, recycled water can be directly utilised to feed a HVAC system like the Ambiator. This would create a self-sustaining eco-friendly and energy efficient process, which can maximise resource utilisation. WPI

The differentiation A.T.E. Enterprises brings to wastewater treatment is through the innovative Vacuum Rotation Membrane (VRM®) technology from Huber SE, using high-quality ultra-filtration membranes. Years of research,


Nicholas Parker is the Chairman of the Cleantech Group LLC - the market-leading research company that introduced the cleantech concept to the investment and business community in 2002

2, 3, 4,5


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