Ion Exchange Resins to Reduce Boron in Desalinated Seawater for Irrigation in Southeastern Spain

Journal ar
  • Volumen: 12
  • Número: 6
  • Fecha: 01 June 2022
  • ISSN: 20734395
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12061389
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: MDPI
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Desalinated seawater (DSW) can provide water resources for irrigation in coastal regions where freshwater is scarce. Reverse osmosis (RO) is the most common technique to obtain DSW worldwide. Nevertheless, using DSW for irrigation could pose an agronomic risk as RO permeates may have a boron concentration above the phytotoxicity thresholds of certain crops, such as woody crops (0.5 to 1.0 mg/L). In this study, an on-farm ion exchange resin system with an average flow of 1 m3/h, designed to reduce the boron concentration of DSW, was evaluated from a technical and economic perspective. The impact of variations in the feed water and operating temperatures on the boron reduction process was assessed. The results show that the system can provide an outflow with a boron concentration below the threshold of 0.5 mg/L over 92 h of operation, with boron rejections of up to 99% during the first 41 h. The estimated cost of boron removal with the on-farm system of the trial was EUR 0.992/m3. However, this cost is expected to decrease to EUR 0.226/m3 for a commercial ion exchange resin (IX) plant (20 m3/h), highlighting the importance of the scale factor. Our results provide novel guidance on the viability of using boron removal IX systems for farms irrigated with DSW, when it is provided by coastal plants with boron concentrations above the crop tolerance.

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