Economic Benefits of Waste Pickling Solution Valorization
An integrated hybrid membrane process, composed of a diffusion dialysis (DD), a membrane distillation (MD) and a reactive precipitation unit (CSTR), is proposed as a promising solution for the valorization and onsite recycling of pickling waste streams. An economic analysis was performed aiming to demonstrate the feasibility of the developed process with a NPV of about EUR 40,000 and a DPBP of 4 years. The investment and operating costs, as well as the avoided costs and the benefits for the company operating the plant, were analyzed with an extensive cost tracking exercise and through face-to-face contact with manufacturers and sector leaders. A mathematical model was implemented using the gPROMS modelling platform. It is able to simulate steady state operations and run optimization analysis of the process performance. The impact of key operating and design parameters, such as the set-point bath concentration and the DD and MD membrane areas, respectively, was investiga ted and the optimal arrangement was identified. Finally, operating variables and design parameters were optimized simultaneously in a nonlinear framework as a tradeoff between profitability and environmental impact. We show how the integration of new technologies into the traditional pickling industry could provide a significant benefit for the issues of process sustainability, which are currently pressing.