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Salt-Mine

Beyond freshwater generation: Mineral extraction from seawater desalination brine and seawater greenhouse farming.

Description

Beyond freshwater generation: Mineral extraction from seawater desalination brine and seawater greenhouse farming.

91.981087582793%

91.981087582793%

91.981087582793%

  • Ongoing

Overview

Project website

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Duration

Feb 2020 - Feb 2023

Type of action

Joint Call

Impact

Beyond freshwater generation: Mineral extraction from seawater desalination brine and seawater greenhouse farming

About 4 billion people currently live in conditions of severe water scarcity for at least a month per year. Additionally, food production in dry coastal areas of least developed countries (LDC) like Somalia and Kenya is severely limited by lack of affordable irrigation water. Oceans and their resources are crucial in alleviating poverty and enabling coastal communities in LDC achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).

Desalinated water is expected to play a key role in narrowing the water demand-supply gap. However, management of ca. 142 million m3/day of brine (hyper-saline concentrate produced during desalination) is a major environmental and economic challenge associated with desalination technologies. Concurrently, the ongoing shift to electric vehicles is fueling a demand for lithium and other battery materials creating opportunity to solve these challenges simultaneously. The SALT-MINE explores the opportunity by aiming to develop sustainable management options for seawater desalination brine including:

i) Development of better materials (e.g. membranes) and affordable chemistry for extraction of valuable minerals (e.g. Li) from desalination brine combined with environmentally better brine disposal methods

ii) Development and piloting of effective seawater greenhouses enabling high-value crops cultivation in arid coastal LDC

iii) Assess the impact of seawater intake and brine discharge, on pelagic and benthic marine organisms, to limit ecological disturbance

iv) Analyse the socio-economic aspects upon the coastal communities of these technologies to evaluate their potential for attainment of SDGs with emphasis on coastal job creation, food security, and business development for value-generation

The consortium brings together partners from Norway, South Africa, Australia, Somalia and Kenya. SALT-MINE will connect with Coast-LaB project, part of Norway-South Africa CRA on ocean sustainability, also studying the impact of land-based activities on the coastal environment.

Project consortium

Principal Investigator(s)

Kuria Ndungu, Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Norway

Partners

Murat Van Ardelan, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Luke Chimuka, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Anita Hill, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
Joseph Kamau, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Kenya
John Livingstone, Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa Somaliland, Somalia
R. Mbithi Mulwa, The Environment for Development (EfD) Initiative, University of Nairobi, Kenay
Brent Newman, The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa

Sponsors

Oceans and Atmosphere, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
The Research Council of Norway, Norway
National Research Foundation, South Africa
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sweden/African countries