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Chromium recovery and reuse in tanneries - consultants & advisors sought

VellHart Solutions is a start-up venture between Indian and American students. We participated in the 2010 ACARA Challenge ( and we are moving forward with our venture. The vision of VellHart is to find profitable ways to reduce the waste and impact that the tanning industry has on the environment.

Our first plan is to tackle chromium contamination by providing tanneries the service of chromium recovery. Using the recovery systems found on site, the goal is to recovery the chromium more efficiently and with a better quality than if the tannery did it themselves. The value proposition is that we will sell this high quality recovered chromium to the at a cheaper rate than fresh chromium therefore the tanneries will see a cost savings in using our service.

Right now VellHart is looking for chemical advice or for persons with a chemical background interested in joining the team. The questions we are looking to answer now are can we recovery as much as we claim and can we get the recovered chromium to a quality comparable to fresh chromium.

If interested in providing guidance, or interested in VellHart Solutions email me at

Thank you,

Kade Hamilton





1. Chromium recovery from Tannery waste in Tamil Nadu.

Dear Kade,

I am a Bangalore based Water Management Consultant.I am also on the panel of experts on indiawaterportal.A couple of months ago, some Indian and American students from Velhart Solutions gave a presentation on the Chromium recovery at the Bangalore office of the Arghyam Foundation which manages Indiawaterportal.I was present at this event and was very impressed by the work of your team.

I had been involved in work done by the company I used to work for which used ion exchange resins(ion exchangers) for recovery of gold,chromium,etc from waste water from plating shop effluent.With this process,it was not always possible to recover all the chromium from the effluent nor did the purity of the recovered chromium match that of the chromium used in the processing of the leather.One way for you to find out is to analyse the purity/concentration of the chromium as recovered and compare it with the purity of the chromium used in the process by the tannery.

I am not aware if the tanneries have a process or system to recover the chromium currently.However,if you can sell the chromium recovered by you at a price which is lower than that the tanneries pay for it,you will definitely be able to sell it to them.

From what I can remember about your team's presentation mentioned above,the commercial proposition was the sale of drinking water to the affected population in the tannery area.If this activity gives you a decent profit,you can add to it by subsidising the price of the recovered chromium you sell to them using part of the profit from selling the water.

Are you aware that in India, a far greater threat to human health in the rural areas of about 22 indian states is the prescence of fluoride in the ground water.Flouride causes a disease called fluorosis which ultimately kills.I suggest you consider using the purification system you have designed to remove fluoride from the water and make such water available to people who live in areas that are affected by fluoride in water.I believe you can earn a lot more because safe drinking water required is far more in such areas than the volume in the areas polluted by tanneries.

I wish your team all success.


Water Management Consultant.

00 91 93437 34229.


2. Hi S.S. Ranganathan Thank you

Hi S.S. Ranganathan

Thank you for you advice. The tanneries in the Vellore region do have a system already installed on-site that does recover chromium from the waste water using MgO and Sulfuric Acid. From the research we've done they don't use them because they don't trust the quality of the recovered chromium so they don't reuse it, therefore there is no benefit to them to recover the chromium. 

What we want to do is use these existing systems to recovery the chromium and add our own supplementary processes that will increase the quality of the recovered chromium. Currently we don't have the chemical know-how to improve the existing process so that is why we are looking for chemical advice or for a teammate with knowledge in the area. 

In regards to the water purification, that was another team that you met with that day. I don't think they are aware of the problem with fluoride so i will forward them this thread.

Thank you,


3. Water purification- removal of fluoride

Dear Kade,

Thanks for your offer to forward the thread to your other team which is concerned with water purification.You can also send me the email address of the concerned person or persons so that I can communicate with them.




4. Ready to discuss about the problem and share information

Thank you very much for your concern about environmental problems which need our attention and concern. I am also conducting a scientific research in the this field and am ready to discuss and share information in this regard.

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