Development of a technology that can allow a circular economy model for precipitated silica wastes.
The LIFE ZEROSILIBRINE project aims to apply an innovative technology for the treatment of precipitated silica wastes, an environmental challenge with no feasible current solution.
The project has the following objectives:
- Demonstrate technical feasibility of reverse osmosis stage with 40 m3/h installation recovering 80% volume of the production process effluent of precipitated silica, reusing the water recovered in the same production process.
- Validate the operating costs of the reverse osmosis process and the economic feasibility of the manufacture of high-purity anhydrous sodium sulphate.
- Validate and optimise the evaporation-crystallisation stage with a small prototype (1-2 m3/h) from 80% to 100% discharge volume until obtaining a commercial anhydrous sodium sulphate.
- Study anhydrous sodium sulphate by-product characteristics with primary sodium sulphate manufacturer.
- Study potential technology replicability and transfer to other chemical processes and/or industrial sectors.
- Create a new business of anhydrous sodium sulphate.
The project uptakes small-scale results (2 m3/h) to a pre-industrial scale (40 m3/h) and validates it before the construction of a full industrial site (120 m3/h).
The implementation of a circular economy strategy in the precipitated silica sector will allow mitigating the environmental impact caused by the discharge of the by-product generated, recovering 100% of the water for the production process itself and recovering sodium sulphate as a high-purity product with commercial interest.
Precipitated silica production process generates as a by-product a high conductivity salt stream that is poured into natural channels after passing through treatment plants. The main salt generated in the process is sodium sulphate which must be removed, along with other components as colloidal silica, by washing, generating a big water consumption.
The LIFE ZEROSILIBRINE project is coordinated by Industrias Químicas del Ebro. Eurecat participates through its Water, Air & Soil (WAS) Unit.