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The Removal of Fluoride

February 19, 2021

A recent paper in Desalination journal reports on a promising new approach to remove fluorides from chemical and metallurgical process solutions. A preloaded chelating resin showed great efficacy in removing the problematic contaminant from Na2SO4 brine streams, down to sub-parts per million levels.

The work was undertaken by NORAM, BC Research Inc., and the University of British Columbia Department of Materials Engineering, under the auspices of a Mitacs research programme. Preloading a chelating resin with aluminium or zirconium found that both were successful in removing the fluoride, but zirconium leaked less from the resin during loading and was effective at a lower pH. The fluoride loading capacity in the zirconium form appeared to increase over time, suggesting that performance does not degrade after multiple load-regenerate cycles.

This approach could be used to selectively polish fluoride from a variety of process streams, including strong brines.  It could be used independently to address a gradual buildup of small amounts of fluoride, or in combination with a traditional calcium fluoride precipitation circuit to remove larger amounts of fluoride.

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