Evaluation of NF membranes as treatment technology of acid mine drainage: metals and sulfate removal
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Acid mine drainage (AMD) are acidic streams rich in dissolved ferrous and non-ferrous metal sulfates and minor amounts of non-metals. Nanofiltration (NF) has been postulated as a potential technology in the metallurgical and mining industry to recover strong acids as H2SO4 and concentrate metallic ions from acidic mine waters. The performance of semi-aromatic polyamide (NF270) and sulfonated polyethersulfone (HydraCoRe 70pHT) NF membranes were evaluated at different trans-membrane pressures. Different synthetic solutions were filtered under spiral wound configuration at two pHs (2.0 and 2.8): i) a solution of Na2SO4 and ii) a solution mimicking AMD from dams, containing Na2SO4 and Fe2+, Zn2+ and Cu2+. NF270 showed metal rejections higher than 90%, while for HydraCoRe 70pHT they were in between 60 and 70%. Metal rejection values decreased when solution acidity was increased. Chemical composition of the membrane active layer and the aqueous metal-sulfate speciation were found to have a large impact on membrane separation process. Solution-Electromigration-Diffusion-Film model was used to estimate the membrane permeances to ions from the measured ion rejections. Furthermore, a full scale unit vessel containing six spiral wound membrane modules was simulated. NF270 showed a higher capacity for concentrating metal and sulfate ions (100%) than Hydracore 70pHT (50%).
CitationLopez, J., Reig, M., Gibert, O., Valderrama, C., Cortina, J. Evaluation of NF membranes as treatment technology of acid mine drainage: metals and sulfate removal. "Desalination", 15 Agost 2018, vol. 440, p. 122-134.