Avoiding waste: a sustainability success in India
Turning sludge into a useful additive
Solvay's industrial sites are eager to find ways to reduce or valorize their waste in order to meet our Solvay One Planet sustainability ambitions for 2030. With that target in mind, Solvay’s teams in Panoli, India succeeded in valorizing one of the plant’s waste streams. Here is how.
Taking action for sustainability targets
Seven and a half percent of Solvay’s industrial waste here originated from one single waste stream: an inorganic, calcium fluoride-rich sludge (calcium fluoride is naturally present in nature) coming out of our Panoli facility, in the state of Gujarat. So, the teams there set about finding a way to valorize this waste. “The idea was to find a useful and sustainable purpose for the sludge,” explains Himanshu Gondaliya, Panoli’s Site Manager. “In this way, it would no longer be waste, but become a component of a different process.”
Reaching such a solution required input from a number of teams across the Group’s operations. “The first step was to document the composition of the waste to gain a better understanding of its valorization potential,” explains Ashish Naïk, Panoli’s Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Manager. “We then worked to determine what exactly would constitute a fully compliant solution and define appropriate criteria for selecting a vendor.” The solution they came up with was to reuse the waste as an additive in a cement plant: the calcium fluoride contained in the sludge helps to reduce the temperature of the kiln, minimizing the plant’s energy consumption and therefore CO2 emissions.
The idea was to find a useful and sustainable purpose for the sludge. In this way, it would no longer be waste, but become a component of a different process.
An inspiration for other Solvay sites to take action
Following the success of this initial project, the teams have turned their attention to address a second waste stream at the site, which is composed of industrial salts. A process is being defined, following the waste management hierarchy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And as multiple sites at Solvay have similar waste to manage, the experience in Panoli can undoubtedly provide them with inspiration.
“Our team is currently carrying out a benchmark analysis to identify challenges and best practices so that we can accelerate our ability to find sustainable outlets for all such industrial residues,” Richard Bourdon, Solvay One Planet’s Waste Taskforce Leader.