TerraSaline extracts clean water and fine salt from wastewater

Terrawater, a specialist in desalination, has developed an environmentally friendly technology by which wastewater and high saline waters can be split into distilled water and high-quality salt.

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TerraCrystalizer, List, Germany. In the background you can see sea salt that has been extracted using natural evaporation. TerraCrystalizer, List, Germany. In the background you can see sea salt that has been extracted using natural evaporation.

" Our system for sea salt from Sylt impressively shows the performance of our TerraSaline technology to run water through concentration processes up to the extraction of solids. As a next step, it is our goal to establish this technology in other industry sectors for the concentration of waters. "

Nicolas Heyn, Co-founder and manager of Terrawater

The TerraSaline apparatus, a development from Terrawater’s basic desalination technology, uses natural evaporation to achieve the aim of “zero liquid discharge” (ZLD) – a situation where all wastewater is recycled and no liquids remain.

The project has been able to increase the efficiency of the technology by 70 % and can be used even with high saline waters. As a result, the requirements for wastewater composition are lowered, the amount of discharged water is reduced, and more clean water can be produced. This brings benefits to the industrial sector, but also to the environment through lower amounts of discharged water and the lower needs of fresh water.

Carbon-neutral, chemicals-free technology

The TerraSaline units combine several steps of the distillation process, facilitating its use. TerraSaline works on the basis of the principle of natural evaporation. The wastewater is heated using waste heat from industrial processes. Evaporated steam is cooled down and collected as drinking water. The brine then goes into a crystalliser, where salts are extracted. Any remaining brine is mixed with new wastewater and fed back into the desalination process, until the goal of ZLD is attained. No chemicals are needed during the entire process, making it environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Future projects

As a first investment, TerraSaline is already being used as a “German sea salt production unit” on the island of Sylt, where it produces up to 70 kg of finest sea salt and 3 m3 of distilled water per day. A number of major industrial projects where TerraSaline could be used are currently being discussed. These include extracting clear water from landfill leachate, cleaning polluted water that leaks from closed oil bore holes, and concentrating digestate from biomass power plants so that the concentrated waste could be used as a fertiliser. Responding to this demand, Terrawater works on upscaling the TerraSaline technology, so that one module could treat up to 50 m3 of wastewater per day.

In the medium term, the project is expected to generate at least 10 new jobs inside the company in the fields of engineering, project management, and production. Additional jobs will be created in Terrawater’s production partners, which are also mainly located in the Schleswig-Holstein region.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “TerraSaline” is EUR 352 412 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 176 206 through the “Schleswig-Holstein” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date