The Kurita Group Approach
The Kurita Group considers it necessary to achieve both industrial development and preservation of the global environment if humanity is to enjoy a prosperous lifestyle in perpetuity. The Group will introduce water treatment into the manufacturing processes for various products, helping to improve productivity and product quality. We will also contribute to solutions for environmental issues associated with industry development.
Contribution to Achieving the SDGs
Targets and Achievements
The Kurita Group conducts basic research on water treatment in the form of analysis and fluid and process analysis, which forms the foundation of its products and services. We are also working to develop products and technologies that contribute to solving issues such as water saving and energy saving for customers and society.
|Target for FY2023||Achievement in FY2020|
|Proportion of themes falling into “Contribution to improvement of production process” to product development themes||35%||37%|
Development of water treatment chemicals that suppress RO membrane clogging
RO*1 membranes remove and filter foreign substances in water using the principle of osmosis, and are widely used in seawater desalination and pure water production. Since scale*2 and biofouling*3 can occur and organic matter can adhere to the membranes’ surface, clogging them, filters or adsorption columns are often installed upstream from RO membrane equipment to remove pollutants and organic matter from the water. It is also common to use chemicals that suppress scale and biofouling.
The Kurita Group has developed a water treatment chemical that suppresses the adhesion of scale and organic matter. Use of this chemical renders organic matter adsorption columns unnecessary, enabling reduced operating costs and stable functioning of the RO membranes.
*1 RO=reverse osmosis
*2 Calcium, magnesium, etc. dissolved in water that precipitates and solidifies.
*3 Pollutants formed by microorganisms such as bacteria and algae in water.
Development of energy-saving technique for carrier-type aerobic biotreatment equipment using AI control system
Carrier-type* biotreatment facilities utilize microorganic activity to treat plant effluents and other wastewater containing large amounts of organic matter. With aerobic treatment, it is necessary to aerate treatment tanks to sustain microorganic action. Since power consumption of aeration devices accounts for a large proportion of the total energy used by wastewater treatment facility, improving operating efficiency of aeration devices has been an issue in terms of energy saving and cost reduction.
The Kurita Group has developed an AI control-based system that enables optimal aeration device operations. In this system, AI predicts the treated water quality based on the amount of organic matter present, changes in the treatment capacity of the microorganisms, and water quality data, and adjusts aeration levels. This system makes possible consistent wastewater quality and lower electricity usage, as well as saving labor, since treatment status can be checked remotely.
* A sponge-like substance that contains microorganisms.
Developed in-situ remediation technique for highly VOC-contaminated soil not requiring excavation or dismantling
On land in industrial areas, harmful chemicals and wastewater used in the past may permeate the ground surface and remain in the soil, so that when the owner expands or renovates the facility or sells the land, it may be necessary to clean up such pollutants. Since it is impractical to dismantle a building when a plant is in operation, instead of excavating and removing contaminated soil, in-situ remediation techniques are often used, such as bioremediation that injects microorganisms into groundwater to break down contaminants.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, are widespread contaminants in industrial areas. The chlorinated compounds, have the property of easily penetrating deep underground, and, when they reach into a low-permeability layer that prevents water movement, they resist being broken down with microbes. Moreover, remediation periods can be prolonged since the VOCs dissolve into groundwater gradually.
The Kurita Group has significantly reduced the remediation period by combining an electrical resistance heating method* that accelerates the volatilization and separation of VOCs from the low-permeability layer, with Kurita Bioremediation-PB, which breaks down separated VOCs through microbial action.
* Technology developed by Shimadzu Corporation.
A novel automatic controlling system saving labor and stabilizing the sludge dewatering process is developed
Wastewater treatment facilities treat wastewater from manufacturing plants to a level that will not adversely impact the ecosystem before it is discharged to rivers. Sludge* generated in this process is dewatered and treated as waste. It is necessary to operate the sludge dewatering process properly in response to flocculation conditions, especially at plants where sludge properties change along with the change of wastewater properties such as food plants that change production items frequently.
Automation of the dewatering process has been desired by customers in terms of saving labor and stabilizing sludge treatment. However, most systems relied on experienced human operators to adjust chemical dosage to deal with sludge conditions that fluctuated daily, and automation remained unestablished.
Kurita Group has developed an automatic chemical dosage controlling system for the sludge dewatering process that enables stable treatment by monitoring flocculation conditions using Kurita’s unique sensor. The system enables the treatment of sludge similar to operation by skilled operators. Therefore, this novel system saves labor and stabilizes the sludge dewatering process.
- * Semi-solid slurry containing large amounts of contaminants removed from wastewater and microorganisms that degrade organic substances in wastewater.