Improved Technology for Utilization of the Chloride/MgO Mixture

12 Submissions
61 Views
$15,000 USD
Due:  6th May 2024

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

ICL, the Seeker for this Wazoku Crowd Challenge, is looking for improved technology to utilize large volumes of the mixture of chloride salts and MgO.

ICL has developed a process of utilizing large volumes, hundreds of thousands of tons, of the mixture of chloride salts and MgO. However, this process has certain shortcomings, such as high investments cost, the need to build special plants (requiring construction permits and creating additional infrastructure), high maintenance, etc.

By posting this Challenge, ICL is looking for existing industrial technologies — that is, those that can be purchased and used immediately — that would allow this process to be improved by simplifying and automating it, which will lead to reducing investment and maintenance costs and operational complexity.

By taking part in this Prize Challenge you are granting ICL a right to use your submitted information, however ICL must determine award winners within 45 days from the start of evaluation, otherwise ICL loses this right.

This Prize Challenge requires a written proposal to be submitted. There will be a guaranteed award pool of $15,000, with at least one award of $5,000 or larger and no award being smaller than $2,500. Award distribution will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposals. There is no assignment of IP Rights with this challenge.

 

 

WIN Scouts are very much invited to participate, this being any Solver who can propose a potentially suitable partner (startup or expert) from your network. As a WIN Scout, by referring a relevant partner you will be recognized with a share of a separate $500 recognition award if your referral meets certain minimum criteria of detail, relevance, and format. The input required is guided during the submission process for WIN Scouts below.

Wazoku welcomes WIN Scouts and referred partners to become active members of Wazoku Innovation Networks (WIN).

In this Prize Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own.
  • Submit third-party information that they have the right to use and further, the authority to convey to the Seeker this right with the right to use and develop derivative works.
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on May 6, 2024.

- Login and register your interest to view the confidential information in relation to this challenge and to start solving and scouting!

 

 

ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

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 producers 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.

Employees of the ICL Group and its subsidiaries are ineligible to receive awards for this Challenge.

 

WIN Scouts are very much invited to participate, this being any Solver who can propose a potentially suitable partner (startup or expert) from your network. As a WIN Scout, by referring a relevant partner you will be recognized with a share of a separate $500 recognition award if your referral meets certain minimum criteria of detail, relevance, and format.

Wazoku welcomes WIN Scouts and referred partners to become active members of Wazoku Innovation Networks(WIN).

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

 

THE CHALLENGE

Background

Carnallite, a raw material obtained by concentrating Dead Sea water, is a source of valuable chemical products, including metal magnesium.

As a by-product of metal magnesium production from Carnallite, hundreds of thousands of tons of the mixture of chloride salts and MgO have accumulated over the years.

The mixture is composed of about 60% chloride salts (NaCl, KCl.MgCl2.6H2O, KCl.MgCl2) and up to 40% MgO; some other, minor impurities are also present.

Given the volume of the mixture, it occupies large spaces. Besides, the mixture includes chemical compounds that can be re-used. For example, KCl is the most common source of potassium for fertilizers, while MgO can be used in construction as an addition to cement or for manufacturing of heat-resistant bricks.

The full utilization of the chloride/MgO mixture will therefore result in a more sustainable environment and will simultaneously create new commercial opportunities.

The Challenge

Our current method of the utilization the chloride/MgO mixture includes four steps:

  1. Grinding: The mixture is first ground into coarse particles by a grinding machine.
  2. Dissolving: The ground mixture is then dissolved in water at the concentration of up to 25% w/v. This separates the soluble chloride salts from the insoluble MgO.
  3. Chloride salt utilization: The water containing the dissolved chloride salts is then extracted — by using clarification ponds, filter-press, or any other appropriate means — and removed to be re-used in other applications..
  4. MgO utilization: The remaining MgO is recovered and used in two ways:
    • Filling sinkholes: It can be used as a filler material for sinkholes, providing structural support and stability.
    • Neutralizing acidic streams: It can be used to neutralize acidic streams by reacting with excess acid.

A major shortcoming that we see with this process is that it requires building a special plant for processing the mixture. This, in turn, leads to the following complications:

  • A plant requires obtaining construction permits (which takes time) and creating necessary infrastructure (roads, parking space, etc.).
  • The process involves bulky and expensive equipment (bulldozers and cranes) to move large volumes of the mixture and large water tanks for dissolving it. Processing 50-100 tons of the mixture in one hour requires 2-3 shifts a day and buffers for grinded solids, water for dissolving, etc. Continuous automated reliable process is much preferred.
  • The process requires a significant amount of labor and constant human operational control.

All this results in high investment and operational costs: currently, the price of treating one ton of the mixture exceeds $30, making this opportunity less economically attractive than we’d like it to be.

An alternative approach could be to use the mixture “as is,” that is, without dissolving it in water. However, a solid technological basis for such an approach hasn’t yet been developed. In particular, a requirement to transport high quantities of the mixture to their target users — often at long distance — makes this approach too costly.

The goal of this Challenge is therefore to dramatically simplify our current process by eliminating the need to build plants. Instead, we envision that a simple, potentially automatable process, can be developed that would not require heavy equipment and large amounts of labor to be involved.

We also envision that the proposed process would be based on technologies that are already available, that is, those that can be purchased and used immediately.

Ideally, the proposed technology will be of the “plug-and-play” style, that is, utilizing highly mobile equipment that would allow the process to be used everywhere, with a minimum setting time.

Our eventual goal is to reduce the cost of treating 1 ton of the mixture to less than $30 and, ideally, to less than $20.

We’re open to any suggestions for an alternative process, the one that could treat the mixture “as is,” that is, without dissolving it in water. However, such an alternative process should meet the requirements mentioned above for an improved version of our correct process, including the all-important requirement of cost reduction (to below $30 per ton of the mixture).

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

We welcome any innovative approach for as long as the proposed solution meets the following major Solution Requirements:

  1. The proposed solution will result in the cost of the utilization process of the mixture to below 30$ per ton and, ideally, below $20 per ton.
  2. The proposed solution will not require building a plant but will allow the utilization process to take place in any place.
  3. The proposed solution will be scalable to the mixture volume of at least 15,000 tons per year (hundreds of thousand tons over a few years).
  4. The proposed solution will allow to automate the process so that no more than a single operator could spend no more than a few hours a day to monitor the process.
  5. The proposed solution will be completely sustainable, i.e. will not introduce any environmental hazards, nor represent occupational risks to the operator.
  6. Ideally, the proposed solution will not require any pre-treatment of the chloride/MgO mixture.

Important! We would like to emphasize that we’re looking for technological approaches that are already available. The Solvers are therefore encouraged not only to describe the proposed improvements but also list the providers of the proposed technologies and/or sources of commercially available equipment. Solutions providing such information will be given special consideration.

Confidential Information guidance; during the submission process, you will have the option to let ICL know if you have further relevant information, consisting of IP rights that may be of interest to ICL, that you are only prepared to disclose if ICL proposes an acceptable award offer.

Solutions with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 7-9 are invited.

This Prize Challenge, has the following features:

  1. There will be a guaranteed award of $15,000, with at least one award being $5,000 or larger and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  2. The award distribution will be determined after theoretical evaluation of the proposals by ICL.
  3. By taking part in this Prize Challenge you are granting ICL a right to use your submitted information, however ICL must determine the award winners within 45 days from the start of evaluation, otherwise ICL loses this right. You will receive notification.
  4. WIN Scouts are invited to participate by ICL, this being any Solver who can propose a potentially suitable partner (startup) from your network. As a WIN Scout, by referring a relevant partner you will be recognized with a share of a separate $500 recognition award if your referral meets certain minimum criteria of detail, relevance, and format. The input required is guided during the submission process for WIN Scouts below.
  5. ICL may also issue “Honourable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards.
  6. ICL may wish to partner with the Solver at the conclusion of the Challenge. Please indicate your interest in partnering.

YOUR SUBMISSION

Please login and register your interest, to complete the submission form.

The submitted proposals must be written in English and can include:

  1. Participation type – you will first be asked to inform us how you are participating in this challenge, as a Solver (Individual), Solver (Organization) or WIN Scout (submission uses an alternative form).
  2. Solution Level - the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution, TRL1-3 ideation, TRL4-6 proof of concept, TRL7-9 production ready.
  3. Partnering - there may be an opportunity to partner at the conclusion of this Challenge. Please indicate if partnering is of interest to you.
  4. Problem & Opportunity - highlight the innovation in your approach to the Problem, its point of difference, and the specific advantages/benefits this brings (up to 500 words).
  5. Solution Overview - detail the features of your solution and how they address the Solution Requirements (500 words, there is space to add more in the summary field below, and to add any appropriate supporting data, diagrams, etc).
  6. Experience - Expertise, use cases and skills you or your organization have in relation to your proposed solution (up to 500 words).
  7. Solution Risks - any risks you see with your solution and how you would plan for this (up to 500 words).
  8. Timeline, capability and costs - describe what you think is required to deliver the solution, estimated time and cost (up to 500 words).
  9. Online References - provide links to any publications, articles or press releases of relevance (up to 500 words).

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Find out more about participation in Wazoku Crowd Challenges.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on May 6, 2024.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Your submission will be evaluated by the evaluation team first reviewing the information and content you have submitted at the submission form, with attachments used as additional context to your form submission. Submissions relying solely on attachments will receive less attention from the evaluation team.

After the Challenge submission due date, ICL will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the winning solution(s) according to the timeline in the Challenge header. All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified about the status of their submissions.

Use the slider to explore how the Challenge process works:

Register

Review & Accept

Submit

Win

To start solving this Challenge, log in to the Challenge Center or register as a Solver

Start the conversation!

Visit the Wazoku Crowd Community to discuss this Challenge with other like-minded solvers.