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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Previous projects > Environment > Nanofiltration mineral membranes for cane sugar refining
Graphic element Nanofiltration mineral membranes for cane sugar refining
Ceramic nanofilters have been developed for the recovery of sodium chloride and sodium hydroxide from alkaline brine ion-exchange effluents, reducing waste and waste treatment costs.

As worldwide concern about industrial pollution grows, governments are imposing more rigid limits on the discharge of effluents and are increasing the constraints on methods of disposal. In the sugar refining industry, ion-exchange processes result in high volumes of spent alkaline brine as effluent, and the costs associated with disposal can be very high. It is becoming increasingly attractive, therefore, to treat spent alkaline brine so that it may be recycled and reused.

This project has demonstrated the feasibility of salt recovery from ion-exchange resin generation effluents in the sugar industry using nanofiltration ceramic membranes. The new process is highly advanced compared to traditional recovery and recycling processes, most of which have not been exploited commercially due to their high cost.

This is the first time that ceramic membranes have been used for nanofiltration, say partners, and the results will include reduced consumption of sodium chloride and sodium hydroxide, reduced water consumption and ultimately reduced operating and waste treatment costs. Partners are now building an industrial-scale separation unit based on their new technology to be installed for the first time in a European sugar refinery. Applications in other sectors are also being considered.

Cordis RCN: 6625
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