The new waterless leather tanning technology would not only be economical, but would effectively bring down pollution.
The CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), which strives for technology that enables innovation in almost all fields of human activity, has today filed a patent for its breakthrough innovation in leather tanning technology.
As opposed to the conventional chrome tanning process, which uses highly toxic chromium sulphate and requires around 45-60 million litres of water every day, this revolutionary technology requires no water.
Shedding more light on the harmful effects of the conventional method, Subhendu Chakrabarti, Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR-CLRI, told PTI: "Delimed skins are subjected to intermediate unit operations such as bating, pickling, before chrome tanning agent treatment and this is followed by chrome fixation in another unit operation called basification. Since all these operations are performed in water medium with chemicals, it uses the scarce resource of usable water and generates enormous amount of waste water containing plenty of unabsorbed hazardous chemicals."
The PTI report further states that the research carried out at CSIR, Central Leather Research Institute (CSIR-CLRI) is aimed at providing various benefits relating to in-process abatement of effluent problem, curtailing process steps, and conservation of time and money.
Chakrabarti further told PTI that the affluents from tanneries are major sources of pollution of water bodies in many areas. The new composition for waterless chrome tanning will save time to the extent of about 30 per cent.
The new waterless leather tanning technology would not only be economical, but would effectively bring down pollution. "It also reduces the requirement of conventional chrome tanning agent by about 50 per cent. Moreover, absence of water in tanning ensures no effluent generation. Thus, it has environment compliance already in place," Chakrabarti told PTI.