Drivers, challenges, and emerging technologies for desalination of high-salinity brines : A critical review

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Kinnari M. Shah
  • Ian H. Billinge
  • Hanqing Fan
  • Yuxuan Huang
  • Robert K. Winton
  • Ngai Yin Yip

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number115827
Journal / PublicationDesalination
Volume538
Online published24 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Hypersaline brines are of growing environmental concern. While high-salinity desalination and zero liquid discharge (ZLD) are increasingly attractive treatment options, the high salt and scalant contents pose considerable technical difficulties to existing desalination techniques. In this review, we introduce sources of hypersaline brines, examine factors driving high-salinity desalination, and present the thermodynamic minimum energy of hypersaline desalination and ZLD, highlighting effects of mineral precipitation and imperfect salt rejection. We then critically examine prospects and challenges of 10 alternative technologies for hypersaline desalination: electrodialysis, osmotically-mediated reverse osmosis, forward osmosis, membrane distillation, humidification-dehumidification, solvent extraction desalination, supercritical water desalination, freeze desalination, clathrate hydrate desalination, and solar thermal desalination. Although electrodialysis and osmotically-mediated reverse osmosis show promise of having competitive energy efficiencies, these membrane-based techniques are still constrained by concentrate salinity limits. Recovery and reuse of heat will be vital for competitiveness of thermally-driven approaches. Technologies that intrinsically precipitate salts in bulk solution, namely solvent extraction desalination, supercritical water desalination, and humidification-dehumidification, can advantageously avoid mineral scaling. Due to the highly heterogeneous nature of hypersaline streams and the wide array of end-use goals, the high-salinity desalination market will ultimately be best served by a range of different technologies with distinctive capabilities. © 2022 Elsevier B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Desalination, Emerging technologies, Energy consumption, Fit-for-purpose water reuse, Hypersaline brines, Scaling, Zero liquid discharge

Citation Format(s)

Drivers, challenges, and emerging technologies for desalination of high-salinity brines: A critical review. / Shah, Kinnari M.; Billinge, Ian H.; Chen, Xi et al.
In: Desalination, Vol. 538, 115827, 15.09.2022.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review