Sulfate Removal from Reject Brined in Inland Desalination with Zero Liquid Discharge

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2013-07-03

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Abstract

Sulfate is one of the most problematic ions present in reject brine in desalination systems due to its high potential of scale formation and membrane fouling; making it an obstacle in the application of zero liquid discharge. The ultra-high lime with aluminum process (UHLA) has shown to effectively remove sulfate. This research involves the study of sulfate removal from the nano-filtration unit in the zero liquid discharge system for inland desalination via a two-stage process using a calcium source to remove sulfate in the first stage and implementing the UHLA process in the second stage. The kinetics, equilibrium characteristics, and effects of different parameters on sulfate removal were studied.

Kinetics of sulfate removal was studied on both stages of the process. The observation of fast kinetics in both stages indicated that removal kinetics is not a limitation for the application of the process. Equilibrium characteristics of the UHLA process were performed which revealed efficient sulfate removal at practical ranges of lime and aluminum doses.

The effect of pH on sulfate removal in the process was studied. Results showed that sulfate removal in Stage 1 was independent of the pH of the solution while effective sulfate removal in Stage 2 was found to be above a pH of 11.

The effect of initial sulfate concentrations on sulfate removal in Stage 1 was investigated and sulfate removal was mainly controlled by calcium sulfate solubility. The effect of initial chloride concentrations on sulfate removal in Stage 2 was evaluated and the results indicated that chloride has negligible effect on the removal of sulfate.

Experiments concerning the effect of the recycle of calcium sulfate solids in Stage 1 showed an increase of the reaction rate. In contrast, the recycle of Stage 2 dry solids into Stage 2 revealed no effect on sulfate removal.

An equilibrium model was developed to explain the equilibrium characteristics of Stage 2. It was found that a valid explanation for the chemistry of sulfate removal in Stage 2 was the formation of a solid solution consisting of ettringite and monosulfate. XRD analysis confirmed the formation of these solids.

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