Spotlight | November 2019
A.T.E.’s contributions to India’s sustainable development
A.T.E. had the foresight to envisage the urgent need for an alternate eco-friendly technology that would provide cooling and comfort. So, it invested in a nascent technology, about 12 years ago, that has today revolutionised the concept of cooling.
The average global temperature is on the rise, and according to a report published by a climate watch magazine, Climate.gov, the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, and 9 of the 10 have occurred since 2005. The report states that [by 2020] the global surface temperature will be more than 0.5°C warmer than the 1986-2005 average.
Countries like India with tropical climates would be hit hard by the increasing temperature. This would lead to an increasing demand for cooling systems. However, conventional cooling systems, mainly the air conditioners, are energy guzzlers and also use the refrigerants that are harmful to the environment. How do we resolve this conundrum?
A.T.E. had the foresight to envisage the urgent need for an alternate eco-friendly technology that would provide cooling and comfort. So, it invested in a nascent technology, about 12 years ago, that has today revolutionised the concept of cooling. The technology, known as IDEC or Indirect Direct Evaporative Cooling, has the well-proven and unique DAMA (dry air most air) as its core, and is based on the principles of evaporative cooling. The DAMA is patented in India, Australia, and the United States. This technology provides comfort cooling using just about 50 per cent energy of conventional air conditioners, and replaces the ozone depleting refrigerants used for cooling with nature’s own coolant, i.e., water. In addition, it provides 100 per cent fresh air, thus creating a healthy and more productive environment.
A.T.E. is a leader in textile engineering with 80 years of experience and its foray into a totally unrelated territory had surprised many, but A.T.E.’s passion and commitment to environment transcends business and profit to societal wellbeing.
A.T.E.’s cooling business is handled by its business unit HMX which has already supplied more than 60 million CFM in India and other markets, cooling an area of more than 12 million sq. ft., encompassing both the industrial and commercial segments and for varying applications. Out of the 60 million CFM, close to 15 per cent of the CFM is supplied to commercial segment. With up to 50 per cent power saving compared to air conditioning, this technology offers huge potential to save energy while providing a cool and healthy ambience for the people inside the conditioned space.
It is with the same passion and commitment that A.T.E. also invested in the wastewater business in the year 2008. India, which is home to nearly 18 per cent of the world’s population, has only about 4 per cent of the world’s water resources. The NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index June 2018 presents a grim water situation in India. As per the report, currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two hundred thousand people die every year due to diseases that are linked to inadequate access to safe water. The report goes on to say that the crisis is only going to get worse, and by 2030 the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual approximately 6 per cent loss in the country’s GDP.
Contributing significantly to India’s water scarcity is the increasing generation of wastewater and its unsafe disposal. Two main sources of wastewater are sewage and industrial waste. It is estimated that around 62,000 million litres of sewage is generated in India every day (source: MakanIQ, July 2017), while 13,468 million litres per day of wastewater is generated by industries in India (FICCI April 2013). A report published by Down to Earth in April 2016 shows that 78 per cent of the sewage generated in India is untreated; similar statistics for industrial wastewater are not readily available.
So, why not look at the wastewater as the most secure source of fresh water? With this idea, A.T.E. invested in the business of treatment and recycling of wastewater and was recently joined by HUBER SE, Germany, and the world leader in the field, to form A.T.E. HUBER Envirotech (AHET).
AHET offers a comprehensive range of solutions for wastewater treatment, recycling, zero liquid discharge and sludge management covering both industrial and municipal sectors. AHET has introduced several novel technologies for industrial wastewater treatment. AAA® technology is a highly successful innovation that treats textile wastewater. AVR® based anaerobic bio-methanation plants have been proven to degrade fat successfully in the dairy industry. AHR handles difficult to treat effluents from pharmaceutical and petrochem, whereas SUFRO®, an ultra-high flow submerged UF membranes followed by a reverse osmosis membrane system, provide simple and hassle free recycling of wastewater.
AHET in collaboration with HUBER SE, Germany, also offers innovative and highly efficient equipment for municipal wastewater treatment right from head works to comprehensive sludge management including faecal sludge treatment. Thus, the endeavour at AHET is to make wastewater the most reliable source of fresh water for industry and mankind.
Another area that A.T.E. invested in that underscores its commitment to the environment is for the development of solar heating solutions. This business is handled by its business unit HMX. With years of R&D and long term in-field testing, A.T.E. has developed an innovative Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) system that can provide steam (up to 160º Celsius and six bar pressure) and process heat for various industrial and commercial applications.
A.T.E. is also active in the space of Industrial IoT, through its business unit, EcoAxis, which helps businesses improve their bottom lines by unlocking intelligence of things using IoT-based advanced analytics. Key environmental benefits of EcoAxis’ IoT solutions are material and energy resource optimisation.
A.T.E.’s concern and contributions to the environment also encompasses its own operations, under the theme ‘Aiding the Environment’. Two of its newly built facilities are certified green buildings. A.T.E. has installed rooftop solar panels in some of its facilities, and also drives green practices like waste segregation, conservation of power, water, and paper with total employee involvement.