Saltworks Launches FlexEDR After Economic Zero Liquid Discharge Pilot

February 20th, 2018

Saltworks Technologies achieved economic zero liquid discharge (ZLD) at a US chemical plant, treating challenging saline wastewater to 99.9% recovery. The chemicals facility engaged Saltworks to rapidly deliver a pilot program that would remove salt from their effluent, helping to meet a discharge cap on total dissolved solids.

A photo of an upstream pre-treatment skid for a Saltworks FlexEDR electrodialysis reversal pilot plant.
Saltworks engineer working on a FlexEDR pilot pre-treatment skid

The team targeted the highest salinity stream in the plant for salt removal. This concentrated stream, which also contained high organics and biological growth potential, was poorly suited for reverse osmosis (RO). Project leader Derek Mandel commented, “RO is the workhorse of desalination and we use it widely, however, the RO membrane fouling risk was too high with this wastewater. Extensive and uneconomic pre-treatment would have been required. This is why we worked with the client to test the second most popular membrane desalter—EDR.” EDR, or electrodialysis reversal, is an established water technology with more than half a century of industrial applications.

Saltworks’ FlexEDR introduces three essential innovations for EDR end users:

  1. Increased resilience via Saltworks’ IonFlux ion exchange membranes, which withstand turbid waters and frequent bleach cleans to prevent biological growth;
  2. No need for chemical softening due to a patented hardness blocker that protects electrodes; and
  3. Process-control innovations to achieve higher recovery and optimize performance when facing variable inlet water conditions.

FlexEDR successfully extracted 89% of the salt load, surpassing the 75% goal. This de-risks the plant’s water balance and permit obligations. Downstream of FlexEDR, the concentrated brine was treated with the SaltMaker Evaporator Crystallizer to achieve 99.9% net water recovery in a modular package that produced solid byproduct. The solids were sent to non-hazardous landfills for safe, low-cost disposal.

Photo of a FlexEDR E150 stack with a transparent background
Saltworks’ FlexEDR: The next generation in electrodialysis reversal

This pilot demonstrated the economic and process advantages of targeting concentrated streams for salt removal. Today, Saltworks Technologies launches its FlexEDR product line—the next generation electrodialysis reversal technology for challenging waters:

  • FlexEDR Organix desalinates produced water and wastewater with high concentrations of organics while removing the need for extensive pretreatment.
  • FlexEDR Selective pulls out monovalent ions with 98% selectivity, so you can tune water chemistries to suit your treatment needs and extract salts that deliver value.
  • FlexEDR Ammonia offers a membrane treatment system for reliable wastewater ammonia removal where biological systems struggle to meet requirements.

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.

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