Reclamation of salt from brine springs

Tejaswini Anand, University of Texas at El Paso


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, and 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. These are a function of the locally high winds and relatively dry ambient air and will be presented. Designs for innovative wind energy based evaporation systems to produce high quality marketable salt product has been developed. A pilot plant located at one of these brine springs was designed with two systems to produce high quality salt and some distillate from the brine waters using wind power. The first system is intended to increase the evaporation rate of the brine by forcing a turbulent air flow over a brine trough. The second system is intended to produce water by isentropic expansion of compressed vapor which can carry more moisture than atmospheric dry air. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Environmental

Recommended Citation

Anand, Tejaswini, "Reclamation of salt from brine springs" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1483902.