15 Jul Towards sustainable production of minerals and chemicals through seawater brine treatment using Eutectic freeze crystallization and Electrodialysis with bipolar membranes
Andrea Culcasi, Rodoula Ktori, Alessandra Pellegrino, Marcos Rodriguez-Pascual, Mark van Loosdrecht, Alessandro Tamburini, Andrea Cipollina, Dimitris Xevgenos and Giorgio Micale
European policy encourages the adoption of sustainable systems that promote the efficient use and recovery of minerals and chemicals. In this respect, desalination brines do contain a dramatic amount of valuable minerals and can be valorized through appropriate treatments rather than releasing them into the environment. This paper proposes an innovative brine recovery system for obtaining high purity chemicals through the integration of Eutectic Freeze Crystallization (EFC) and Electrodialysis with Bipolar Membrane (EDBM) technologies. Two separate laboratory-scale experimental campaigns were carried out to validate the potential integration of the two processes. Mirabilite (Na2SO4?10H2O) has been recovered with a purity of 99.9% using the EFC, and a feed rich in NaCl with low impurities has been further processed in an EDBM unit. EDBM tests with feed solutions simulating EFC effluents have shown that it is possible to produce acidic and basic solutions with high purity (>99%), despite the presence of impurities in the feed. Interestingly, the low EDBM specific consumptions of 0.9–1.1 kWh kg?1NaOH at 100 A m?2 and 1.3–1.6 kWh kg?1NaOH at 300 A m?2 were comparable with and without impurities. In the context of the circular economy strategy promoted by the EU-H2020 Water Mining project, the current study demonstrates that this integrated system effectively minimizes waste, promoting sustainability while providing a potential economic return.
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