So far, Proklean Technologies has prevented 7,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
The specialty biochemicals company has found that some of its products have an 80% lower carbon footprint than conventional ânon-greenâ products.
âA third party rated us on a number of factors and came to the conclusion. So not only do we not use chemicals in our manufacturing process, but our products help make customers âgreenerâ in the truest sense, âsaid COO Alok Goel.
The assessment included the calculation of the carbon embedded in the raw materials used by Proklean; each step of the manufacturing process has been reviewed to understand the amount of carbon emitted; the packaging was examined to examine the distance traveled by the material to its units, the distance traveled to the customers’ door; and customers’ processes were also checked to see if using these products was helping to increase or decrease effluent, the amount of heating or cooling needed, etc.
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âIt has all been compared apple to apple with conventional products,â Goel said.
Goel says the results were interesting because the number the study found was quite large, given that Proklean is a small business.
âWe could still help help customers reduce their carbon footprint. As we evolve and multiply, it will become multiples of the carbon footprint saved. “
He points out that chemicals are in fact the biggest contributor to climate change. “They are not making the headlines because the incorporated crude oil required for the extraction of chemicals is not factored into the calculations.”
So, how are Proklean’s processes different from others who want to go green?
The company uses a “consortium” of “good” bacteria or probiotics that work in tandem. This compares to many other popular fermentation processes that use a single strain or family of these organisms.
âThis is why we are more efficient than processes that use a single strain of bacteria. This is also one of the reasons we can do low cost manufacturing. This is the nature of this consortium; they are able to cling to and fight the pathogenic bacteria that attack them.
âGreenâ chemicals are generally 3 to 5 times more expensive than conventional chemicals, he says. One of the main reasons is that in the fermentation mode you need very expensive bioreactors to maintain a particular cleaning condition and you need downstream processing – which adds almost 60-80% cost – once fermentation is complete.
âWhen this combination of bacteria is initiated in a fermentation process, they emit certain biochemicals. The combination of microbes and biochemicals produced helps provide performance in many applications, âGoel said.
The advantage of Proklean was that his method used probiotic microorganisms without requiring a downstream process. In addition, a locally developed reactor – a set of high density polyethylene tanks – did not require large investments or heating / cooling.
âThe product was non-toxic, biodegradable and could match the performance of conventional products,â he added.
Customers typically look for three things when switching to a âgreenâ product: it should match the performance of the traditional product, be price competitive, and present no barriers to adoption for the user. Goel claims that unless these three conditions are met, the company is not even releasing the products from R&D for mass production.
The first industry that Proklean tackled was leather manufacturing, followed by textiles. A few years ago, it started serving the pulp and paper segment. Last year, it launched cleaning products for industrial consumers and retailers.
When asked how, for example, the company has helped textile customers save on costs, Goel said that at every step – from converting cotton to yarn and yarn to fabric, it s’ This is a completely water-based process, and for heating or cleaning fabric, textile factories use a lot of chemicals called surfactants. They are used both in the pretreatment – when chemicals are first introduced to prepare the fabric for dyeing – and in the dyeing process.
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âOur product replaces everything that was used and that mainly contained petrochemical ingredients. As our products are non-toxic, it helps the workers who handle the textile material. Our products can be handled without any safety precautions; nor do they increase effluent discharges, âhe said.
Save on FTEs
While Goel does not have a number to quantify the savings between customers, the savings on the Effluent Treatment Plant (FTE) are obvious and significant. âFTEs in textile units are becoming bottlenecks. Beyond a certain point, companies are not authorized by law to discharge effluents. Even if the standards allow it, increasing the capacity of the ETP becomes expensive. Thus, if there is less effluent discharged, then for the same FTE, the production capacity of the core can be increased. In other words, your earning potential increases with a proportional increase in the cost of manufacture. ”
In one case of a small textile unit, the customer was able to increase the capacity by around 30% without having to increase the capacity of the ETP, thanks to the use of green chemicals.
Proklean’s income in the last fiscal year was 15 crore. Revenue for the quarter ended in March was nearly 25 crore on an annualized basis.
It has also started to export to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.