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Turning desalination waste into a useful resource



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The fast growing desalination industry produces water for drinking and agriculture in the world's arid coastal regions. This article is intended to provide a basis for the prevention of damage to the marine ecosystems. Now, engineers at MIT say they have found a better way.
                                


The approach can be used to produce sodium hydroxide , among other products. Otherwise known as caustic soda.

The concept is described today in the journal Nature Catalysis and two other papers by MIT research scientist Amit Kumar, professor of mechanical engineering John. H. Lienhard V, and several others.

"The desalination industry itself uses a lot of it," Kumar says of sodium hydroxide. "They're buying it, spending money on it. The amount needed in the plants

Sodium hydroxide is not the only product that can be made from the same. waste brine: Another important chemical used by the chemical industry, which can also easily be used in the chemical industry.

Currently, the world produces more than 1

00 billion liters (about 27 billion gallons) a day of water from desalination, which leaves a similar volume of concentrated brine. Much of that is pumped back out to the sea. Converting the brine can be both economically and ecologically beneficial, especially as it continues to grow rapidly around the world. "Environmentally safe discharge of brine is manageable with current technology," Lienhard says.

The method of converting the brine into useful products uses well-known and standard chemical processes, including by means of one or more electrodialysis stages to produce the desired end product. While the processes are being, they are not the only ones to be able to do it. diminishing its environmental impact.

" commodity is a win-win, Kumar says. He says, so finding markets for it is a difficult thing.

t of building a prototype plant to help work out the real-world economics of the process. Kumar says, "One big challenge is the cost of equipment," says Kumar. which can be the most economically viable undertaking.
                                                                


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More information:
Nature Catalysis (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s41929-018-0218-y
                                        

Journal reference:
                                                                                                            Nature Catalysis
                                                        
                                                        
                                                                                                    

Provided by:
                                                                                                            Massachusetts Institute of Technology
                                                        

                                                        
                                                                                                    


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