Evaluation of a Combined Approach for Sulfate and Ammonia Recovery from Treated Brine Using a Simultaneous Chemical Precipitation and Electrocoagulation Processes

SUSTAINABILITY(2023)

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Abstract
Soda ash (Na2CO3) is produced using the traditional Solvay process. It entails the reaction of CO2 with high-salinity water in the presence of ammonia (NH3), which produces insoluble sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) and soluble ammonium chloride (NH4Cl). In the current work, a newly combined approach has been developed to effectively manage the removal of ammonia and sulfate from the effluent of the Solvay process. The devised technique centers on an electrochemical coagulation process, complemented with the utilization of calcium oxide (CaO) as a buffering reagent. This innovative approach excels at achieving high recovery rates for both ammonia and sulfate. The recovered ammonia holds the potential for recycling, thereby contributing to the sustainability of the Solvay process by reusing ammonia in its initial stages. Furthermore, sulfate ions are recuperated in the form of calcium sulfate, a value-added product boasting various industrial applications. The results gleaned from this study underscore the efficacy of the ammonia recovery process, particularly when operating at elevated current densities and with higher calcium oxide concentrations. On the other hand, sulfate recovery demonstrates superior performance when exposed to moderate current densities and limited calcium oxide concentrations. Consequently, the integration of both stages within a single, cohesive process necessitates the development of an optimization methodology to cater to varying operational conditions. To address this need, second-order polynomial equations were formulated and employed to anticipate ammonia and sulfate removal rates in the integrated approach. Four independent variables come into play: calcium oxide concentration, current density, temperature, and mixing rate. The findings reveal that most of these variables exert substantial influences on both ammonia and sulfate removal rates, underscoring the need for careful consideration and fine-tuning to optimize the overall process. The maximum ammonia and sulfate removal were found to reach 99.50% and 96.03%, respectively, at a calcium oxide concentration of 3.5 g/100 mL, a current density of 19.95 mA/cm2, a temperature of 35 degrees C, and a mixing rate of 0.76 R/s. The results are promising, and the developed process is also suitable for recovering high concentrations of sulfate and ammonia from various wastewater sources.
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Key words
sulfate recovery,ammonia removal,Solvay process,electrocoagulation,calcium oxide,chemical precipitation
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