Humans Worth Their Salt? The Price Of Desalination = Brine Disposal as Brine Disposal is becoming a Growing Problem
In a recent annual risk report, the World Economic Forum lists water crises as the largest global risk in terms of potential impact. Estimates suggest that 40% of the global population faces severe water scarcity, rising to 60% by 2025. Indeed, 66% of the global population — 4 billion — currently live in conditions of severe water scarcity for at least one month per year. Water-scarce countries and communities require a radical examination of water resource planning and management.
A new study. sponsored in part by the United Nations, determined that desalination is on the rise. Desalination cost reductions have occurred due to new technological advances, and the expense and security concerns over conventional water resources also have made countries turn to desalination. The UN study indicated, however, that improved brine management strategies are required to limit desalination’s negative environmental impacts and reduce its economic cost.
The study was authored by researchers from UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH); Wageningen University, The Netherlands; and the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea. They analyzed a newly-updated data set — the most complete ever compiled — to revise the world’s outdated statistics on desalination plants. Their results suggest that improved brine management strategies are a significant need to meet a fast-growing challenge.
The authors predict a dramatic rise in the number of desalination plants and the volume of brine produced worldwide. Their findings also indicate that the volume of brine produced far exceeds the volume of desalinated water produced and that the generally accepted quantifications of volume of brine are gross underestimations.
With better technology, a large number of metals and salts in desalination plant effluent could be mined. These include sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bromine, boron, strontium, lithium, rubidium, and uranium, all used by industry. Today’s technologies do not allow such resource recovery opportunities to be economically competitive yet, however.
|Humans Worth Their Salt? The Price Of Desalination = Brine Disposal | CleanTechnica
The numbers of desalination facilities across the globe are increasing, but so, too, are brine byproducts