Breaking Supersaturation in Carnallite Brine

$15,000 USD

Challenge overview


Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL), the Seeker for this Challenge, extracts brine from the Dead Sea for production of salt, potash, and other important minerals primarily through evaporation. At the end of this process the end brine that is returned to the Dead Sea is often supersaturated in carnallite, a mineral with composition KClMgCl2·6H2O that is used to produce potash. ICL is seeking innovative ways that are feasible and economical on an industrial scale to break the supersaturation.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.



Supersaturation occurs when a solute is present in a solution at a higher concentration than indicated by the solute’s solubility at the particular temperature and pressure of the solution. This is easy to accomplish in a laboratory setting by typically slowly cooling a saturated solution without disturbance. Likewise, it is usually easy to break the supersaturation by stirring the solution or adding a seed crystal. Supersaturation also occurs in industrial process settings but breaking the supersaturation using standard techniques is not always successful for a variety of reasons. ICL encounters such a situation during the autumn and winter months near the Dead Sea in their production plant for potash (KCl). To produce potash, salt, and other valuable minerals, ICL extracts brine from the Dead Sea and sends it through a series of evaporation ponds to concentrate and extract the materials of interest. At the end of this series of ponds, the end brine is returned to the Dead Sea but it still may contain material of value. Under certain circumstances that occur most often in autumn and winter, the end brine is supersaturated in carnallite, a mineral with composition KClMgCl2·6H2O. ICL has investigated many techniques to break the supersaturation in order to extract more potash from the brine but each of the techniques fell short when applied on an industrial scale necessary for a production plant with an end brine flow of 180 Mm3/year (2.4 × 1011 kg/year) and a final evaporation pond area of 3.5 km2.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 22-May-2023 23 Jun 2023.
Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.



This is an external Challenge only. Employees of the ICL Group and its subsidiaries are ineligible to receive awards for this Challenge.


ICL, a global manufacturer of products based on unique minerals, fulfills humanity’s essential needs, primarily in three markets: agriculture, food, and engineered materials.

The experience, knowledge, and professionalism derived from establishing Israel’s potash industry over a period of 80 years of intensive activity and major investment in R&D, have transformed ICL into a world leader in specialty fertilizers, bromine, and flame retardants. ICL produces approximately a third of the world’s bromine and is the world’s sixth-largest potash producer, as well as one of its leading providers of pure phosphoric acid.

ICL’s operations are global and are supported by worldwide distribution and supply chains. Our mining and production sites are located in Israel, Europe, North and South America, and China. ICL employs about 13,000 people worldwide.


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