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Silice removal in water with electrocoagulation applied to mining and food industries in chile

Pilot plant involving electrocoagulation to remove silicate in raw water; this silicate has a negative impact on existing plants (reverse osomosis, filtration adsorption) installed in chile for mining and food industry; we pretend to improve life time of equipment and save operation cost

Silica is a major problem in chileans water (especially in the north region 1 and 2 from Arica to Antofagasta) : its high content in ground water as well as in rivers coming from the Andes (50 to 100 ppb) does not facilitate the water treatment of these sources. Indeed, membrane filtration (reverse osmosis in general) as well as adsorption filtration dedicated to removal of specific pollutants like arsenic or iron and manganese are generally quickly passived and clogged after a relatively short time. This costs a lot of money for industry in terms of operation and maintenance (i.e. replacement of membrane modules every year, filter media every 6 months etc...) reducing the water output flow and increasing over 2 the opex of the plant. The objective of our project is to test a pilot unit using electrocoagulation placed in one of the sites selected with our chilean partners, so far we expect to test it with one or two major industries : 1. Mining industry (most probably Rockwood in Antofagasta or Codelco in Chuquifcamata/Calama region) who have reverse osmosis plants as well as filtration/adsorption and conventional coagulation units. 2. Beverage industry : contacts have been made with Coca Cola group in Santiago : they want to improve their production ratio : saving water of the soda production cycle passing through their filtration process which includes various membrane and filtration stages as for as processing waste water issued from bottles cleaning and rinsing. The principle of our pilot is an electrocoagulation process which enables some selective pollutants removal with specific current, voltage and electrodes configuration : e.i. silica with an improved efficiency (at least over 50%) This process includes chambers working in 1 or 2 passes where the water to process is circulating in a special shaped channel between electrodes connected to a voltage and current regulated power source. Due to the production by the current of highly reactive metallic ions (Fe, Al..) and OH radicals : silica will react and forma complex hydroxides by floculation and precipitation due to their non solubility from one side and at the other side flotation of some subproducts at the surface of the liquid due to the micro bubbles upflow produced at cathode level. Afterwards the processed water will go through the conventional process which may include water final "polishing" by specialized adsorption/filtration (i.e. for arsenic removal for instance) or membrane filtration. The interest of this process will be demonstrated in terms of cost savings (capex and opex) and efficiency about mainly silica removal for his implementation at large scale. Case studies can be leaded for mining industry as well as for food and beverage Patents models and Intellectual Property protection (IP) are in preparation in Chile and will be further extended first to Europe (PCT) about applications of this new process. We expect to mobilize a team of 5/6 engineers both in France and in Chile to prepare pilot units, on site implementation and then to lead parametric studies and calculation of cost efficiency figures and to determine the process key parameters (voltage, current, residence time, pH, electrodes configuration and consumption...) Design and on site accomodation, specific power supply design and manufacturing, test runs, sampling and analysis, determination of cost performance figures of the plant and additionnally the consumibles such as cathodes & anodes for the pilot, team and materials transportation costs to North of Chile induced a total cost estimated at 0.3 Million Euros
Acronym: 
EPI
Project ID: 
11 249
Start date: 
02-01-2017
Project Duration: 
12months
Project costs: 
300 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Water Pollution / Treatment
Market Area: 
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