Saltworks' FGD Wastewater Solution Wins POWER Magazine's 2020 Water Award

June 9th, 2020

Saltworks is honoured to receive POWER Magazine’s 2020 Water Award for our ground-breaking ‘chloride kidney’ industrial desalination solution. This innovative technology—pilot tested at one of America’s largest coal power plants—involves a novel tweak on 50 year-old electrodialysis desalination technology.

As the world transitions its energy mix, coal-fired stations still provide over 30% of America’s electricity and 60% of China’s. Operators have installed scrubbers to remove sulfur emissions from the exhaust, driven by the need to mitigate air pollution and prevent acid rain. The air emissions are absorbed into water, ultimately generating a unique Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) wastewater.

Until now, FGD wastewater has not been widely treated due to its complex chemistry and highly scaling nature. FGD wastewater treatment can be avoided by re-using the water internally. However, this requires removing chlorides.

Photo of a Saltworks engineer inspecting a FlexEDR stack used to treat FGD wastewater
FlexEDR treatment stack

Saltworks developed a solution that removes up to 90% of chlorides from FGD wastewater, meaning that the water can be re-used rather than discharged. The solution uses Saltworks’ FlexEDR product—with proprietary monovalent-selective membranes—enabling up to 50% cost savings over alternative methods.


The same technology is now being tested by a major international mining company to remove chlorides and boost production from what would normally be a waste product. More information can be accessed by contacting Saltworks or visiting POWER magazine.


In addition to chloride removal for re-use, Saltworks also offers chemical softening, high recovery reverse osmosis, and evaporator solutions for FGD wastewater.


The site pilot work—proving the performance of FlexEDR as a chloride kidney—was made possible thanks to the foresight of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the support of the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, as well as advisory services and research and development funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). 

About Saltworks

Saltworks Technologies is a leader in the development and delivery of solutions for industrial wastewater treatment and lithium refining. By working with customers to understand their unique challenges and focusing on continuous innovation, Saltworks’ solutions provide best-in-class performance and reliability. From its headquarters in Richmond, BC, Canada, Saltworks’ team designs, builds, and operates full-scale plants, and offers comprehensive onsite and offsite testing services with its fleet of mobile pilots.

Related Resources

A photo of a Saltworks FlexEDR pilot plant operating on-site at EPRI

EPRI Publishes Report: Successful FGD Industrial Water Reuse

Saltworks welcomes a new report by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) summarizing results from a pilot completed at a large coal power plant in the US. FlexEDR monovalent electrodialysis reversal treated FGD wastewater, recovering 93% freshwater.

FGD Water Treatment Plant

FGD Pilot Success in the USA

Saltworks successfully concluded a 60-day on site pilot at a major US coal fired power plant with 100% up-time. The project treated challenging flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater to selectively remove chlorides for recycle and re-use internal to the coal stack scrubber system.

Photo comparison of FGD wastewater, one container is brown, murky and the second is clear and colorless water.

Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Wastewater Pilot Test Results

Saltworks completed an off-site FlexEDR Selective pilot test to treat flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater from a coal fired power plant in China. The objective was to reduce chlorides such that the FGD wastewater could be internally recycled and final treatment costs reduced notably.

Flue Gas Desulfurization Wastewater Treatment

Flue Gas Desulfurization Wastewater Treatment

Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems are used to remove sulfur dioxide air emissions in coal-fired power plants. FGD wastewater is often saturated with calcium sulfate, while containing both metals and chlorides. Saltworks can help to boost FGD water cycles through selective chloride removal, or treat the FGD wastewater to zero liquid discharge.