The general objectives of Silic Salt were to develop and (partly) implement new curing methods for freshly flayed hides and skins, whereat the common curing salt (i.e. NaCl) will be replaced by alkali silicates. Remarkably less silicates will be required for curing and a significant reduction of salt content in treated tannery effluents will be achieved. This reduction will make such effluents re-utilisable for agricultural purposes. The innovative techniques will only be in the chemical process and will not require investment on new tannery equipment. Therefore, all tanneries in developing countries will be able to implement these procedures, especially since all auxiliaries are not expensive. In addition, the results from a CRAFT – project have indicated a better exhaustion of later applied tannery auxiliaries. This lead to less contaminated tannery effluents and reduced sludge volumes from effluent treatment.
At the end of all beamhouse–processes, untanned, silicate-stabilised pelts will be obtained. Since these pelts seem to be storable over longer periods, they can be seen as new starting material for European tanneries. Interesting in this respect is that, so far, only pre-tanned starting materials (mainly chrome-tanned wet blues) were exported. With silicate-stabilised pelts, any required tannage (with chrome, synthetic and/ or vegetable tannins) can then be carried out.
The project partners were COTANCE and GERIC members VAL/Austria, and LGR/Germany, as well as CLRI (Central Leather Research Institute, India), BLRI (Bangladeshi Leather Research Institute), BLCT (Bangladesh College for Leather Technology), Lederfabrik Vogl GmbH, Dr. Boehme KG as well as Mr. R. Daniels as an independent expert. An Observer Group includes ERRC (Eastern Regional Research Centre USA), CSIR-Australia, the Tokyo Metropolitan Leather Institute and the University of Chengdu-China.
The project started in 2002 and was completed in 2005.