Danish-Polish Environmental Co-operation 1991-2000

Chapter 12
Better environment through cleaner technology

Cleaner technology in the textile industry

In Poland, the industry - mining, manufacturing and utilities - plays a major role not only in the economic situation but also in the environment. Therefore, it makes an environmental difference which kind of technology the industrial sector is using. The Danish priority in the technological assistance is to change the investments from an endof pipe solution into an integrated system where production and the protection of the environment go hand in hand.

Cleaner technology in the industrial production which is a well known concept within environmental protection, is the designation used in Danish projects when referring to what others may call waste minimisation, cleaner production or pollution prevention. In Denmark, the designation "cleaner technology" is seen in a broad context and is not limited to strictly technical issues.

One of the overall objectives with projects on implementation of cleaner technology has been to create a kind of synthesis between an increasing production and an increasing protection of the environment. This objective has been the approach in the 19 cleaner technology projects which DANCEE has supported in Poland. These projects involved industrial branches such as the textile industry, the fisheries, the electroplating industry and the foundry industry.

Cleaner technology as a priority

The Polish industry stands for a considerable part of the country's GDP and has an internationally important mineral extraction sector including iron, steel and nonferrous metals.

The concentration of the industrial activity is more or less limited to a few geographical areas:
The heavy industry is concentrated in Southern Poland
The Katowice region accounts for all of Poland's coal and zinc ore production, approximately 50 per cent of steel and approximately 35 per cent of coke.
The Lodz region accounts for a majority of the Polish textile industry.

Cleaner technology in the textile industry

The textile industry in Poland is one of the industries where the potential for environmental improvements are obvious, both in terms of lesser consumption of chemicals, more environmentally friendly treating and re-use of selected waste water streams and in terms of rebuilding old equipment or exchanging it with new. In the project described a total of 41 cleaner technology options were identified

One of the essential things with the project in the textile industry about cleaner technology was to establish a good and constructive cooperation with the Polish textile companies. The areas of pollution prevention and resource savings within the industry were identified from direct contact with 20 textile dyehouses including a detailed survey of 9 selected dyehouses. All the companies were open and constructive and made all the necessary information available for the project.

The objective:

The specific objective was an identification of options for pollution prevention and resource savings in the textile industry. And one of the targets of the assistance to the implementation of cleaner technology was changing investments from end-of-pipe solutions into integrated systems, where the production and the protection of the environment could form a synthesis.

The procedure:

The companies were selected to ensure that the various processes in the industry were well represented. This selection was carried out by the Textile Research Institute in Lodz on the basis of its very thorough and detailed insight in the textile industry.

The strategy was then to initiate direct contact with the companies with a detailed inspection of processes and recipes, and to identify possible areas of improvement in collaboration with the companies.

The identified priority areas were grouped into four categories:

  1. Optimisation: Meaning improvements of routines and procedures within the existing equipment
  2. Modernisation: Meaning rebuilding old equipment or exchanging it with new
  3. Chemical substitution and savings: Meaning altering production recipes towards less consumption of chemicals and more environmental friendly chemicals
  4. Re-use: Meaning possibilities for treating and re-using selected waste water streams and their content of energy and chemicals

The result:

A total of 41 cleaner technology options were identified. There are good possibilities for each of the above categories, and possible case examples were found within the companies.

Three implementation projects were subsequently executed comprising some of the most beneficial options:
Extended Counter Current Operation in Continuous Processes
Implementation of Cleaner Technology in Batch Dyeing of Cotton
Savings and substitutions of Hazardous Chemicals

The possibilities of cost-effective improvements were quite good, and the goal of an overall 50 per cent reduction in water, energy and chemical consumption seemed achievable with the right cleaner technology strategy.

Because of the financial situation the payback time for new technology should be very short, and the risk of production failures etc. when implementing new technology should be close to zero.

An important conclusion of the implementation programme is that any risk of economic losses caused by the implementation of new technology, for instance loss of production volume caused by potential misdyeing, should be covered by the existing project funding. In most cases it is no problem to give such a guaranty, as potential losses will be very small compared to the full project budget.

In a cellar under the Teofilow textile factory, a pilot project - and later a high pressure menbrane filtering unit - were installed to clean coloured waste water from the dyeing process. The water could then be reused in the dying and washing process.