Separation and Purification Technology, Vol.138, 210-218, 2014
Silica removal with sparingly soluble magnesium compounds. Part I
The main bottleneck in the treatment and reuse of effluents from deinking paper mills that employ reverse osmosis (RO) is the high silica content, which causes membrane fouling that limits the recovery of the treatment. Silica removal with magnesium compounds enables to treat large volumes of water with high removal efficiencies at low cost. Although soluble magnesium compounds are efficient, their use is limited since they increase the conductivity in the treated waters. Therefore the use of sparingly soluble magnesium compounds might be a promising alternative. Three sparingly soluble magnesium compounds (MgO, Mg(OH)(2) and (MgCO3)4-Mg(OH)(2)-5H(2)O) were studied in this paper at three pHs (10.5, 11.0 and 11.5) and five dosages (250-1500 mg/L) at ambient temperature (-20 degrees C). Only 40% silica removal was obtained, which is not high enough to work at regular RO recoveries without scaling problems. To increase silica removal, the slurries of sparingly soluble compounds were pre-acidified with concentrated sulphuric acid and tested at the same conditions. In this case, high removal rates were obtained (80-86%) at high pH (11.5), even at ambient temperature. These removal rates would allow working at 75-80% recovery in RO units without scaling problems. This pre-acidification, together with the use of Ca(OH)2 as pH regulator limited the increase of the conductivity of the treated waters to only 0.2 mS/cm. Additionally, the use of Ca(OH)(2) instead of NaOH as pH regulator increased the chemical oxygen demand removal from 15% to 25%. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.