Concentrated Brine is produced as a by product of sea water
desalination. Sea water is not fit for drinking, it has salts in it and
can be harmful if drunken in large quantity. But at the same time, it is
available in a large volume. To make it drinkable, a process called
desalination, which is the removal of salts, is carried out. The product
is drinking water and concentrated brine is the by product.
Concentrated Brine is a salt solution and usually has more than twice
the salt concentration than normal sea water. The disposal of it is a
huge problem and this challenge seeks for new ways to dispose off
Water is a big part of our lives and ourselves. Drinking water is not
available everywhere. Underground water, rivers and streams are a few
sources which the world gets drinking water mainly from. Although water
is available in seas in an almost unlimited quantity, it cannot be drunk
without processing. Desalinating the sea water produces concentrated
brine which we don’t have a use of so it is complete waste. This makes
the process unfeasible in the long run. If a solution to dispose off
brine or a use of it is found, the problem of water in the whole world
can be solved.
Currently, the most used solution is disposing off the brine to the
sea water. The problem with this is that it is twice as denser than sea
water so it goes to the bottom of the sea where it can accumulate
because there is little wave energy to mix it. This can be dangerous for
sea life as the eggs are on the sea surface. Moreover, the brine may
have other chemicals used to treat the water in desalination which may
be hazardous for the sea life. Alternatively, the brine may be mixed
with sewers, industrial waste, or deep wells but the availability of
these resources is another problem in different places and even if they
are available, the transportation is still an issue.
The challenge seeks for either one of the following:
1. A safe disposal of concentrated brine.
2. A use of concentrated brine in industry, such as in manufacture of some industrial product.
3. Treating concentrated brine so as to use it in some way or dispose it safely in sea water.
What has been tried that hasn’t worked
Mainly because of the disposing off problem, desalination plants are
not quite often used around the world. Though they are used in some U.S
states where drinking water would be a problem otherwise. Disposing off
it in the sea just doesn’t work as the water is still there and it
doesn’t mix the solution. Multiport diffusers on the discharge pipes
promote the mixing of it in the sea water but we do not have enough
knowledge on the long term impacts of it on the sea life, so that is not
recommended. Mixing it in the sewers or industrial waste requires
either transportation or a pipeline network that would require safer
mixing of the two, both of which are problematic. Disposing in deep
wells can interfere with underground water.
Verification of why this is an industry-wide problem
Drinking water is a well known problem worldwide. The disposal of
concentrated brine is a problem which comes in when we try to solve the
former one. Please refer to following links for more information on
problems related to disposal of concentrated brine.
The solution should contain following things:
1. The basic idea, whether it be a treatment for disposal, an industrial use, or some other disposal technique.
2. The feasibility of the idea.
3. The estimated cost per liter.
4. The investment required for the realization of such idea.
5. Would it sustain and not endanger marine life in the long run?
Paths the solution might lie along
Turning brine into an asset or a raw product for some industrial
production would be perfect. Other possible solutions could discuss the
possible methods to dispose it off in the sea in a safer manner, or
disposing off with other industrial waste in a cheaper way.
Areas of knowledge or expertise that would be helpful in solving this challenge
Chemistry, Industry, Biology, Marine life
Challenge submitted by Ahmed Hembel
I am interested in joining a virtual team to work on this challenge
Award amount to be determined before work begins.
kindly register by clicking here