Zero Liquid Discharge of Ultrahigh-Salinity Brines with Temperature Swing Solvent Extraction

Boo, Chanhee; Billinge, Ian; Chen, Xi; Shah, Kinnari Malav; Yip, Ngai Yin

Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) of hypersaline brines is technically and energetically challenging. This study demonstrates ZLD of ultrahigh-salinity brines using temperature swing solvent extraction (TSSE), a membrane-less and nonevaporative desalination technology. TSSE utilizes a low-polarity solvent to extract water from brine and then releases the water as a product with the application of low-temperature heat. Complete extraction of water from a hypersaline feed, simulated by 5.0 M NaCl solution (≈292 g/L TDS), was achieved using diisopropylamine solvent. Practically all of the salt is precipitated as mineral solid waste and the product water contains <5% of NaCl relative to the hypersaline feed brine. Consistent ZLD performance of high salt removals and product water quality was maintained in three repeated semibatch TSSE cycles, highlighting recyclability of the solvent. The practical applicability of the technique for actual field samples was demonstrated by ZLD of an irrigation drainage water concentrate. This study establishes the potential of TSSE as a more sustainable alternative to current thermal evaporation methods for zero liquid discharge of ultrahigh-salinity brines.


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Environmental Science & Technology

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Academic Units
Earth and Environmental Engineering
Published Here
August 24, 2020