ACARP ACARP ACARP ACARP
Open Cut

Integrated Forward and Reverse Osmosis System For Mine Water Reuse

Open Cut » Environment

Published: September 17Project Number: C21043

Get ReportAuthor: Ramesh Thiruvenkatachari, Michael Cunnington, Mathew Francis, Shi Su | CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering

Mines across Australia face enormous water challenges and desalination options are limited and expensive. Managing the saline water generated during coal mining is becoming an important and costly exercise for the coal industry. Due to the constraints in releasing the saline water, coal mines require additional water storage facilities and therefore seek to minimise their inventory of saline water. Also, during periods of drought, the treated saline mine water can offer new supply sources of reusable quality water to coal mines. Adopting efficient treatment technologies on-site would minimise the risk of wet season run-offs and freshwater contamination and allow segregation into different qualities of water to enable greater water recycling. Conventional reverse osmosis (RO) desalination would require extensive and expensive pre-treatment to reduce membrane fouling and to ensure reliable performance. This project aimed to establish proof-of-concept for this technology by adopting a laboratory scale osmotically driven forward osmosis (FO) process as the pre-treatment to a RO unit and to evaluate the performance of the integrated FO-RO system to treat mine impacted water to a level safe for discharge or reuse.

In the RO process, the water is separated from the salt by applying a hydraulic pressure over the osmotic pressure of the feed to force water through a semi-permeable membrane. In the FO process, the separation is achieved by the concentration gradient (difference in osmotic pressures) between a lower solute concentration feed solution (in this case, mine impacted water) on one side of the membrane and a higher solute concentration solution, known as draw solution, on the other side of the membrane. Water, from the brackish mine impacted water, naturally permeates through the membrane to the draw solution due to the osmotic gradient. Clean water is then recovered from the diluted draw solution via RO. In this integrated FO-RO system, the FO unit prior to RO unit serves as an effective barrier to the RO membrane for the removal of suspended solids and micro-organisms present in the mine impacted water and also a range of dissolved solids that represent a fouling and scaling threat to the RO system.

The experimental results obtained from the laboratory scale flat sheet membrane FO-RO test unit, developed through this project, have demonstrated the proof-of-concept of the integrated FO-RO system for the treatment of mine impacted water. The combination of FO with RO provided better performance than stand-alone FO or RO systems. The FO unit served as an effective pre-treatment system for RO and the integrated FO-RO system has a strong potential to successfully eliminate conventional RO pre-treatment processes. The elimination of the extensive and expensive pre-treatment currently used for RO at mine sites, offers a significant reduction in energy utilisation, chemical usage, piping infrastructure and operating costs. The improved sustainability of the integrated FO and RO desalination process is an additional benefit to the savings in the overall desalination cost.

However, before developing a full scale FO-RO unit (nominal capacity of 100 m3/day) for mine site implementation, it is necessary to develop a pilot scale integrated FO-RO unit with spiral wound modules and then trial it at a mine site to obtain reliable scale up information including optimum operational parameters and also to gain practical site operation experience. The optimum operating conditions of the laboratory size small flat sheet membrane cell will be radically different from those of an FO-RO system using a spiral-wound membrane module.

An e-newsletter has also been published for this project, highlighting its significance for the industry.

Underground

Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C21013Improving Cavity Prediction On Longwall Faces Through A Combination Of Reliable Convergence, Canopy Attitude And Leg Pressure Monitoring

Most Australian coal mines have shield leg pressure monitoring in real t...

C24014Distributed Acoustic Conveyor Monitoring

CRC Mining have investigated the application of fibre optic Distribu...

C25054Distributed Acoustic Conveyor Monitoring - Phase 2

This project is phase 2 of the distributed acoustic sensing project ...

Underground

Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C26019Prediction Of Long Term Erosion At Pit Walls

The objective of this project was to provide a basis for estimating ...

C26033Geotechnical Hazard Awareness Video For Open Cut Coal Mines

THERE IS NO FINAL REPORT AVAILABLE FROM THE ACARP WEBSITE - DO NO...

C23053A Study Of Sustainability And Profitability Of Grazing On Mine Rehabilitated Land In The Upper Hunter NSW

This study was initiated by the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue (UHMD) ...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C24045Adaptation Of Coal Grain Analysis To Improve Flotation Yield Estimation

Yield estimation from resource data is notoriously difficult. Facto...

C25017Leveraging Detailed Maceral Component Information From CGA

Since Project C18041 was completed, the CSIRO image analysis softwar...

C25010Optimising The Performance Of Tailings Dewatering In A Solid Bowl Centrifuges

This tailings dewatering study was undertaken to provide a link betw...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C25042Mechanistic Model Of Coke Development In A Coke Oven Situation

The standard approach to evaluate the potential of coals or blends t...

C25050Overview Of Outcomes Of Research Supported By ACARP And NERDDC On The Utilisation Of Coking Coals, 1978-2014

The Australian coal industry has funded a substantial body of work o...

C25046Using High Range Mass Spectrometry To Study The Link Between Coal Structure, Coke Strength And Thermoplastic Chemistry In Blends

This project investigated the use of Laser Desorption/Ionisation tim...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C24061Proof-Of-Concept Photocatalytic Destruction Of Methane For Coal Mining Fugitive Emissions Abatement

Australia's fugitive emissions in 2015 were 41 Mt CO2-e (representin...

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement - Phase 3

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C19054VAM Enrichment With A Two-Stage Adsorption Process

Treatment of ventilation air methane (VAM) with cost-effective technolog...

Mine Site Greenhouse Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community

NERDDC

National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook

NERDDC