Electrolytic salt splitting is a technology where acid and/or base is regenerated from a neutral salt using membrane electrolysis. The mining industry has been slow to adopt this technology due to challenges associated with impurities, as well as economic factors such as the relatively low cost of disposal and reagent repurchase. However, recent advances in brine treatment, membranes, and cell design have made electrolytic salt splitting feasible for a wider range of feeds, while stricter environmental regulations have made the bulk disposal of salt solutions more difficult.
In this paper, a typical salt splitting flow sheet is presented, based on recent NORAM projects. The flow sheet is compared to other technologies, taking into account factors such as electricity cost, reagent cost, maintenance, and scalability. The results can be used to help evaluate the feasibility of electrolytic salt splitting under local economic conditions at a proposed installation site.