Desalination and Seawater Resources

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The ABC TV science program, Catalyst, recently reported on -

"There’s one place in the world where a quarter of a million of Giant Australian Cuttlefish migrate each year for a spectacular love-in. The problem is, their unique nursery may face a mortal threat."

The mortal threat is the discharge of concentrated brine from a desalination plant - planned to produce 200 megalitres of fresh water per day for mining operations at Olympic Dam in South Australia. For more on the ABC TV Catalyst program, see the Catalyst website here Giant Cuttlefish (ABCTV Catalyst)

For a variety of options to use concentrated brine as a positive resource, and avoid the risk of environmental damage by treating it as an unwanted "waste" to dump somewhere, have a look at the following collection of ideas available on the web.

Table 1 (From a paper presented at the European Conference on Desalination and the Environment: Fresh Water for All, May 2003)

Potential products from treatment of reject brine from Reverse Osmosis facilities and relevant market information (quoted product prices are in Australian dollars)

Product name
Chemical composition
Physical form
Indicative price, $
Potential applications/markets
Gypsum–-magnesium hydroxide
CaSO4.2H20 +Mg(OH)2
Fine grain slurry
150/t
  • Sodic soil remediation
  • Fertiliser additive
  • Drip feed application
Magnesium hydroxide
Mg(OH)2
Fine grain slurry
400/t
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Agriculture
  • Cattle feedstock additive
  • Refractories
Sodium chloride (halite)
NaCl
Crystalline salt
70/t
  • Food processing
  • Agriculture
  • Chlor-alkali
Precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC)
CaCO3
Fine grain, crystalline
300-900/t
  • High value paper coating pigment
  • Filler in plastics paint, ink, and sealant production
Sodium sulphate
Na2SO4
Crystalline
170-200/t
  • Pulp and paper industries
Calcium chloride
CaCl2
Concentrated solution
(35-38%)
220/t
  • Road base stabilisation
  • Sodic soil remediation
  • Dust suppression
  • Drip feed application
 

The paper presented at the European Conference on Desalination and the Environment: Fresh Water for All, May 2003 -
  • click here to download and open a PDF copy of this paper.
 
Desalination and Seawater Resources
 

See the report "Zero Discharge Desalination" May 2006 - 

  • click here to download and open a PDF copy of this report.
  • click here to open the report as an ISSUU publication.
(Problems using ISSUU? Click here to see issuu.com's "The Definitive Guide: Troubleshooting Internet Explorer and other browsers")

 

Zero Discharge Desalination May 2006 

For one example of a supplier of commercial "Zero Discharge Desalination" technology, click here to see their website

Seawater Brine Recycling Schematic 

For an alternate use for saline brine from a desalination plant see Michael Longhurst's paper "Saline algae farming for biodiesel production and carbon capture (Potential for saline sites to grow algae for biofuel in central west New South Wales)", presented at the 2nd International Salinity Forum, 30 March - 3 April 2008, Adelaide -

  • click here to download and open a PDF copy of this paper.
Biomass algae farming 

For additional information on algae farming see the extract of the US research paper "National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Aquatic Species Program Review" -

  • click here to download and open a PDF copy of this extract.
  • click here to open the extract as an ISSUU publication.

NREL Aquatic Species Review
 
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24 Sep 2009 05:07
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27 Sep 2009 08:02
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