Pre-treating Dead Sea water before entering evaporation ponds

39 Submissions
128 Views
$15,000 USD
Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

ICL, the Seeker for this Wazoku Crowd Challenge, is looking for improved technology to pre-concentrate Dead Sea Water before entering the series of solar evaporation ponds.

With its salinity of almost 30%, Dead Sea water is a great source for minerals production. One of the most commercially valuable among them is Carnallite, a raw material for potash production.

Typically, Carnallite is extracted by sequential evaporation, when increasingly concentrated Dead Sea water moves through a series of evaporation ponds. As the brine composition reaches a certain point, Carnallite starts precipitating.

Unfortunately, initial composition of Dead Sea water leads to precipitation of Carnallite along with Halite only in ~1/3 of the area of solar evaporation ponds. It means that in ~2/3 of the evaporation ponds, only Halite, a by-product, precipitates. In addition, the evaporation process doesn’t allow the extraction of all Carnallite (the end-brine has a potential of precipitating additional Carnallite).

ICL is therefore looking for a novel approach to pre-concentrating Dead Sea water and/or removing Na+ ions before entering the evaporation ponds. In that way, Carnallite extraction would be more efficient than currently available, while not increasing the extent of evaporation, and reducing Halite removal costs.

This is a Prize Challenge which 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 (or allocation) will be contingent upon the theoretical evaluation of the proposals. By submitting a proposal, the Solver grants the Seeker a right to use any information included in their proposal.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on March 24, 2024.

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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 ­­­­ICL are ineligible to receive an award for this Challenge.

What is the Wazoku Crowd?

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THE CHALLENGE

Background

With its salinity of almost 30%, Dead Sea water is a great source of minerals.

One of the most commercially valuable among them is Carnallite, a hydrated potassium magnesium chloride with formula KCl.MgCl2·6(H2O), an important source of potash.

Typically, Carnallite is extracted from Dead Sea water by the process of sequential evaporation. During this process, the increasingly concentrated brine moves through a series of evaporation ponds, while its saltiness grows from ~28% in the first evaporation pond to 36% in the last.

The first mineral to precipitate is Halite (NaCl), or common salt. This occurs immediately because the water is already saturated with Halite. Approximately 2/3 of the evaporation pond area is used to precipitate only Halite.

As evaporation continues and the water concentration reaches the "Carnallite point”: Carnallite (KCl.MgCl2·6(H2O)) begins to precipitate too. Approximately 1/3 of the total evaporation pond area is used to precipitate Carnallite. Importantly, Carnallite co-precipitates with Halite.

This process suffers from three major problems. First, the area of evaporation ponds to deal with Carnallite precipitation is only 1/3 of the total evaporation pond area; 2/3 of the area is used only to get rid of Halite. Evaporation area is a limited resource.

The second problem is that the end brine (brine from the last evaporation pond to be directed back to Dead Sea) has potential to precipitate more Carnallite, but it requires additional evaporation.

Third, the resulting Carnallite is heavily contaminated with Halite, which in this instance represents an undesirable by-product.

We tried to improve the process by pre-concentrating Dead Sea water. Several approaches have been used, with forward osmosis, absorption, and distillation among them. All of them turned out to be inefficient for our purpose, mainly due to the lack of scalable technology and/or high costs.

The Challenge

We therefore want to design a novel approach to either pre-concentrate Dead Sea water or remove Na+ ions from Dead Sea water before entering the solar evaporation ponds — so that Carnallite extraction would be more efficient — while not increasing the extent of evaporation.

More specifically, we expect the proposed technology to be able to pre-concentrate Dead Sea water from about 280 g/kg of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) to about 285 g/kg (density of ~1.24 to ~1.25), or to reduce sodium ion from about 60 g/kg in Dead Sea water to 55 g/kg. At the same time, we expect the proposed technology not to engage any additional sequential evaporation or increase the water consumption.

We’re willing to consider proposals based on forward osmosis, absorption, and distillation but only if a dramatic improvement in performance and scalability was demonstrated.

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

ICL is open to any innovative approach for as long as the proposed solution meets the following major Solution Requirements:

  1. The proposed solution should result in pre-concentrating Dead Sea water by 5 g/kg TDS (from 285 g/kg to 280 g/kg), or by reducing Na+ concentration in Dead Sea water by about 5 g/kg (from 60 g/kg to 55 g/kg).
  2. The proposed solution should not increase the extent of evaporation.
  3. The proposed solution should not depend on any changes in external temperatures.
  4. The proposed solution should use an existing technology that is scalable to hundreds of thousands of tons of Dead Sea water.
  5. The proposed solution should be feasible with highly concentrated brines and take into account Halite precipitation.
  6. The proposed solution should consider the energy demands of the technology, favoring low energy consumption technologies.
  7. The proposed solution should be completely sustainable, i.e., it should not introduce any additional environmental hazards, nor represent occupational risks to the operator.

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.

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

 

This is a Prize Challenge, which 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 the Seeker.
  3. By submitting a proposal, the Solver grants the Seeker a right to use any information included in their proposal.
  4. The Seeker may also issue “Honourable Mention” recognitions for notable submissions that are not selected for monetary awards.
  5. ICL may wish to partner with the Solver at the conclusion of the Challenge. Please include a statement indicating 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) or Solver (Organization).
  2. Solution Stage - the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution, TRL1-3 ideation, TRL4-6 proof of concept, TRL7-9 production ready.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.).
  5. Experience - Expertise, use cases and skills you or your organization have in relation to your proposed solution. ICL may wish to partner with the Solver at the conclusion of the Challenge. Please include here a statement indicating your interest in partnering. (up to 500 words).
  6. Solution Risks - any risks you see with your solution and how you would plan for this (up to 500 words).
  7. Timeline, capability and costs - describe what you think is required to deliver the solution, estimated time and cost (up to 500 words).
  8. 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 March 24, 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.

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