405 Reclamation of Salt From Brine Springs

Friday, November 6, 2009: 8:40 AM
Santa Fe (Camino Real Hotel)
Tejaswini Anand , Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
John C. Walton , Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Arturo Woocay , Department of Civil Engineering, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Huanmin Lu , Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Sodium-chloride brine underlies the shallow subsurface and discharges in springs and streams at numerous locations in Kent and Stonewall Counties in Central Texas. These discharges eventually flow into the Salt Fork of the Brazos River, lowering the quality of this important surface water resource. One potentially cost effective solution for the problem of excess salt loading to the Brazos River by brine spring discharge is to intercept brine groundwater discharges and either treat or evaporate the water. We have examined the energetic of desalinating and evaporating the water from the brine to produce marketable salt products and distilled water. Our study indicates that, although desalination of NaCl saturated brine is technically feasible, it will rarely be cost effective, suggesting that evaporation for production of salt is more cost effective. Comparison of locally available solar versus wind energy for evaporation indicates that significantly more (>50X) potential exists from wind than solar energy. This is a function of the locally high winds and relatively dry ambient air. A design for an innovative wind energy based evaporation system to produce high quality marketable salt products has been developed and will be presented.
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