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Technical and environmental feasibilities of the commercial production of NaOH from brine by means of an integrated EDBM and evaporation process

Abstract: Electrodialysis with bipolar membranes (EDBMs) is a technology that offers a great potential for the introduction of the principles of a circular economy in the desalination industry, by providing a strategy for the recovery of HCl and NaOH from brine via the process of seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). Both chemicals are widely employed in desalination facilities, however NaOH presents a special interest due to its higher requirements and cost. Nevertheless, the standard commercial concentrations that are commonly employed in the facilities cannot be obtained using the state of the art EDBM technology itself. Therefore, the aim and main purpose of this work is to prove the technical and environmental feasibilities of a new approach to produce commercial NaOH (50%wt.) from SWRO brine by means of an integrated process of EDBMs followed by a triple effect evaporation. The global process has been technically evaluated in terms of the specific energy consumption (SEC) (kWh·kg-1 NaOH) and the environmental sustainability performance has been analyzed by its carbon footprint (CF) (kg CO2-eq.·kg-1 NaOH). The influence of the current density, and the power source in the EDBM stage have been evaluated on a laboratory scale while the influence of the feed stream concentration in the evaporation stage has been obtained through simulations using Aspen Plus. The lowest SEC of the integrated process (SECOV), 31.1 kWh·kg-1 NaOH, is obtained when an average current density of 500 A·m-2, provided by a power supply (grid mix), is applied in the EDBM stage. The environmental burdens of the integrated process have been quantified by achieving reductions in the CF by up to 54.7% when solar photovoltaic energy is employed as the power source for EDBMs, with a value of 5.38 kg CO2-eq.·kg-1 NaOH. This study presents a great potential for the introduction of the principles of a circular economy in the water industry through the recovery of NaOH from the high salinity waste stream generated in SWRO facilities and opens the possibility of the reuse of NaOH by its self-supply in the desalination plant.

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 Autoría: Herrero-Gonzalez M., Ibañez R.,

 Fuente: Membranes, 2022, 12(9), 885

Editorial: MDPI

 Fecha de publicación: 14/09/2022

Nº de páginas: 12

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.3390/membranes12090885

ISSN: 2077-0375

Proyecto español: CTM2017-87850-R