How can science and innovation transform mine water to water our crops?

agricultural fields in China

As the world’s population continues to grow and climate change-induced droughts threaten water supply, water scarcity is a major concern, making mine and industry water a precious resource. Utilizing mine water is of great significance when it comes to protecting the environment and saving water resources. But treating mine water poses its own challenges, as industrial effluents can be extremely difficult to treat.

The double-membrane method has shown to be an effective treatment process, but it requires a large initial investment. Even then, the membrane can become fouled by scale or other substances, which requires labor intensive cleaning.

One thermal power plant in China turned to Dow’s ACUMER™ 4200, a scale inhibitor, in their mine water treatment process after more than five years of operation. About 3 million tons of mine water are consumed every year at the plant. The mine water is typically “three high” – high salinity, high hardness and high suspended matter – which causes serious scaling and makes the treatment process difficult.

Three years after applying ACUMER™ 4200 to their mine water treatment process, fouling has been addressed and cleaning frequency reduced by half. The effort has significant economic, social and environmental benefits, and shows how science and innovation can address our most pressing needs.