With the advancements in desalination technologies, seawater has become an important water source to tackle the freshwater shortage challenges. Seawater is desalinated either using membrane processes or thermal processes. After desalination, brine waste is produced, containing extremely high concentrations of salts such as sodium chloride and various contaminants, depending on the desalination method used.
These byproducts are difficult to treat because of their complex composition and purification methods.
Recently, Pact Renewables Pty Ltd has developed a unique zero-waste technology platform, known as Climedec, that uses metals and minerals extracted from brine waste to store hydrogen energy in a solid-state and capture carbon dioxide (CO2) for the production of degradable products in an integrated process cycle.
It is being looked at as a major breakthrough because it can enable the world to transition from fossil fuel to a hydrogen economy.
Climedec uses core saltwater and wastewater processing technology to derive hydrogen energy and CO2-containing degradable products. The technology was developed by Dr. Aharon Arakel and his team, whose efforts have been heavily influenced by Global Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and hydrogen storage technology development projects. The technology has been publicly demonstrated and tested at several locations. It was licensed for the first time in 2000.
Besides core technology, several complementary technologies have been integrated into the Climedec technology that enables the production of highly pure magnesium, which is used to store hydrogen energy safely. Other useful products of this technology are – special potassium salts used for the production of alkaline fuel cells and high-purity water, which is used in hydrogen electrolyzers. Mineral-based composites are also produced that react with carbon dioxide to yield special raw materials used to manufacture degradable industrial, agricultural, and consumer goods.
As per Dr. Aharon Arakel, Director and Chief Technologist, Pact Renewables, these products are the same or even better than their plastic-based counterparts, and since they are degradable, they do not need disposal after use.
Dr. Arakel further says that the technology addresses three main challenges that humanity is facing:
- The transition from fossil fuel to a hydrogen economy.
- Carbon Dioxide reduction using carbon capture technology.
- Various metals and minerals can be obtained using this method, which otherwise must be extracted from mines with limited reserves.
Treatment of massive amounts of reject brine from numerous seawater desalination plants worldwide is a big challenge. Using Climedec technology, not only can brine waste be treated but also several useful eco-friendly products can be obtained.