Desalination by RO creates concentrated brine, which is then released into sea back. This causes environment problems. Why cant we use this brine for other process like salt harvesting etc, which requires brine?


Recently I watched these videos which explains the negative impact of releasing concentrated Brine produced from RO Desalination plants back into Ocean.

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This got me thinking why can’t we use this brine in an commercial beneficial way, given that there are several industrial process that uses Brine as raw material. On top of my head I could think of Salt production, Caustic Soda production etc., Why is brine not used commercially? And what are the challenges and is there a solution?

In: Technology

There’s simply way too much of created as a byproduct of various industrial processes. How would you sell something commercially if we produce way way more of it than we could ever need?

The profits to be made processing brine into salt are low. If it’s cheaper to build a new salt processing plant next to a desalination plant, that could happen. However, moving an existing plant isn’t likely worth it and most commercial salt production is from underground deposits with much higher salinity.

The challenge here is mostly that salt is ubiquitous and fairly worthless – $58/ton

It takes a lot of energy to drive off *all* the water and produce rock salt, so the costs are higher than what can be recovered by selling the salt.

The brine may have a few uses, but a large DeSal plant is producing brine at a much greater rate than you could realistically consume the salt locally.

You may have to also purify the salt as there is a lot more in seawater than just salt and water. Not sure if the trace amounts of other minerals and sea creatures would be harmful if you tried to make some homemade sea salt