Dia-nanofiltration-electrodialysis hybrid process for selective removal of monovalent ions from Mg2+ rich brines

Paz Nativ, Noga Fridman-Bishop, Oded Nir, Ori Lahav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A hybrid nanofiltration-electrodialysis process was developed and tested for highly-selective separation of MgSO4 from seawater. The magnesium-rich solution was produced primarily for replenishing Mg2+ into desalinated water within the post-treatment step in seawater desalination plants. The new three-step process consists of: (1) seawater nanofiltration (NF) for generation of a magnesium-rich retentate; (2) a Dia-NF step in which the NF retentate is used as feed, which is aimed at minimizing unwanted solutes (primarily B, Na+ and Cl); and (3) a selective electrodialysis (ED) step on the retentate from step 2, aimed at further lowering the Cl:Mg2+ mass ratio to below 0.2, to produce a high-purity MgSO4-rich product solution. Results are presented with an emphasis on the ED step, for which the effects of flow velocity, current density and two operation modes (constant-current and constant-potential) were assessed. The results show a highly-dependent selectivity of the monovalent-selective ion-exchange membrane to the cell potential, suggesting that it can serve as a fine-tuning tool for selective ED processes. The cost of adding 20 mgMg/L to one m3 of desalinated water was estimated at ~$0.014/m3, which is competitive compared to other separation techniques, and certainly versus the alternative of direct dosage of food-grade magnesium salts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114357
StatePublished - 1 May 2020


  • Desalinated water
  • Electrodialysis
  • Ion exchange membranes
  • Mg replenishment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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