Zero Liquid Discharge

The Path to Water Efficiency: Zero Liquid Discharge Solutions for Steel Industries


Water scarcity is a growing concern worldwide, with the steel industry being a significant contributor to industrial water usage. Accounting for up to 10% of global industrial water consumption, the steel industry faces increasing pressure to reduce its water footprint. To address this challenge, implementing zero liquid discharge solutions can be a game-changer. ZLD is a water treatment process that enables the recovery and reuse of all water from the wastewater stream, minimizing water consumption and preventing pollution. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits and importance of Zero Liquid Discharge solutions in the steel industry and highlight a promising technology called Scaleban that specifically addresses the challenges faced in cooling towers.

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The Need for Water Conservation in the Steel Industry 

The steel industry heavily relies on water for various operations, such as Induction cooling, Iron billet cooling, and cleaning. With water resources becoming increasingly scarce, reducing water consumption has become crucial. Implementing ZLD solutions can significantly contribute to water conservation efforts by recovering and reusing wastewater, thereby reducing the reliance on freshwater sources. By adopting ZLD, steel plants can achieve substantial water savings of up to 95%, resulting in cost reductions and the preservation of precious water resources.

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Introduction to Zero Liquid Discharge Technologies 

Zero-liquid discharge can be achieved through various technologies tailored to the specific wastewater characteristics of steel plants. Here are some common Zero Liquid Discharge technologies:

Membrane Filteration: This technology employs membranes to separate good-quality water from the wastewater stream, ensuring the recovery of high-quality water for reuse within the plant process.

Multi-Effect Evaporation: Utilizing waste heat or steam as a medium, this technology evaporates water from the wastewater stream, producing clean water vapor for condensation and reuse, the remaining salt concentration present in wastewater further processed into power form by dryer for disposal.

By selecting the most suitable ZLD technology based on the specific characteristics of their wastewater, steel plants can optimize water recovery and minimize the environmental impact of their operations.

Scaleban: Addressing Cooling Tower Challenges in the Steel Industry 

In the steel industry, cooling towers play a crucial role in maintaining optimal operating conditions. However, the use of wastewater in cooling towers presents specific challenges that need to be addressed. Scaleban, a specialized technology, offers comprehensive solutions to overcome these challenges and improve the reliability and efficiency of cooling towers.

  • Hard Water Scaling: Scaleban equipment prevents hard water scaling by effectively using the ETP treated wastewater into cooling towers at high COC. By this, it protects the Heat transfer areas and ensures smooth operation.
  • Corrosion Control: Scaleban technology employs specialty corrosion inhibitors designed to control corrosion caused by the high TDS content in wastewater. This safeguards the cooling tower circuit and extends the equipment’s lifespan.
  • Bio-fouling Prevention: Scaleban-formulated biocides effectively control bacterial and algae growth in the cooling tower sump, preventing bio-fouling and maintaining optimal cooling tower efficiency.
  • TSS Removal: Scaleban’s Glass Media-based Pre-Filtration system removes insoluble particles (TSS) from wastewater, preventing clogging and damage to heat exchangers and other equipment.

As Scaleban allows the use of ETP treated water into cooling towers, it reduces the usage of Soft/ RO water into cooling towers, also higher COC results in lesser blowdown which can be taken directly into ash quenching hence reducing the load on ETP drastically. Scaleban technology has many advantages over conventional technologies available globally. It offers:

  • 80% savings in CAPEX: The initial investment required for this is significantly lower than the investment required for conventional technologies.
  • 80% savings in OPEX: The operating costs of Scaleban technology are also significantly lower than the operating costs of conventional technologies.
  • No maintenance or replacement of parts required for 20 years: This technology is a very low-maintenance technology, with no parts that need to be replaced for 20 years.
  • Zero footprints Can handle variable water qualities in cooling towers: This is able to handle a wide range of water qualities, making it a versatile solution for cooling towers.
  • Reduction in CO2 emissions: This can help to reduce CO2 emissions by reducing the amount of water that needs to be treated.
  • Fast ROI: The ROI for Scaleban technology is typically within 12-18 months, making it a very attractive investment.
  • Quick installation and commissioning: This can be installed and commissioned within 6-8 weeks, making it a fast and easy solution.
Zero Liquid Discharge

UN Sustainable Development Goal:

Scaleban Zero Liquid Discharge systems play a vital role in promoting sustainability within the steel industry, particularly in achieving the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. These systems effectively minimize the impact of steel plants on water bodies by eliminating the discharge of wastewater and reducing pollution. By treating and recycling wastewater within the plant, ZLD prevents the release of harmful substances into rivers, lakes, and oceans, safeguarding marine life and preserving the delicate balance of aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, the implementation of Zerp Liquid Discharge solutions reduces the need for extracting resources from the ocean, contributing to the conservation of marine habitats. Through these efforts, the steel industry can actively support the preservation of life below water and promote the sustainable use of water resources, aligning with the objectives of SDG 14.


Water scarcity and environmental concerns necessitate the adoption of sustainable practices in industries like steel manufacturing. Implementing zero liquid discharge (ZLD) solutions offer an effective strategy for reducing water consumption and preventing pollution. By recovering and reusing wastewater, steel plants can significantly contribute to water conservation efforts and improve their environmental performance. Additionally, the utilization of specialized technologies like Scaleban addresses specific challenges in cooling towers, ensuring their reliable operation and efficiency. With numerous benefits, including cost savings, regulatory compliance, and enhanced sustainability, ZLD solutions are a worthwhile investment for the steel industry, facilitating its transition towards a more water-efficient and environmentally conscious future.