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Life cycle assessment of zinc and iron recovery from spent pickling acids by membrane-based solvent extraction and electrowinning

Abstract: In this paper we conducted a life cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental performance of the valorization of spent pickling acid (SPA) generated in the hot-dip galvanizing (HDG) process. We analyzed the environmental impacts of treating one m3 of SPA, comparing the reference treatment consisting of neutralization, precipitation, stabilization, and landfilling of the metallic sludge (scenario #1), with the innovative LIFE2ACID technology (scenario #2) that produces secondary zinc and iron chloride in solution through non-dispersive solvent extraction (NDSX) and electrowinning (EW). The results showed that the materials credits achieved by the implementation of LIFE2ACID technology turned most of the impact categories evaluated (toxicity, acidification, eutrophication, ozone depletion, etc.) into environmental benefits. Scenario #2 was adapted to achieve either zinc-only recovery (#2.1) or simultaneous iron and zinc recovery (#2.2). The abiotic depletion potential (ADP) of fossil fuels increased slightly from scenario #1 to scenario #2.1 because of the higher energy demand and NaOH consumption of EW, and because only zinc was recovered. However, the valorization of both zinc and iron chloride in scenario #2.2 reduced the ADP-fossil by 27%, compared to the reference treatment. Furthermore, the global warming impact was reduced by 20% and 97% in scenarios #2.1 and #2.2, respectively. With the focus on promoting the circular economy concept, we conclude that the LIFE2ACID technology significantly improves the environmental performance of SPA management. Next steps should consider the life-cycle costs analysis in specific scenarios to find out the trade-off between environmental and economic objectives.

 Autoría: Arguillarena A., Margallo M., Irabien Á., Urtiaga A.,

 Fuente: Journal of Environmental Management, 2022, 318, 115567

 Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 15/09/2022

 Nº de páginas: 9

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115567

 ISSN: 0301-4797,1095-8630

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115567