To date, the EU imports boron from around the world to make items such as wind turbines, semiconductors, and detergents. Identifying methods of sourcing boron within Europe would be beneficial to secure European access to this critical raw material. To address this, SEArcularMINE project partners are investigating methods of recovering boron in a circular process starting with abundant saltwork bitterns.

The recovery of boron involves a sorption/desorption process, where specialised materials are used in a unit that we call pH Swing Absorption (pHSA). UPC has developed a de-boron pHSA unit for the SEArcularMINE project, and the first test of the pilot plant scale unit was conducted recently, as seen here. The first test proved successful, and subsequent tests are planned over the next weeks.

This test is the initial step ahead of the ultimate goal of its incorporation in the SEArcularMINE integrated pilot, which will create a circular process, as seen in the figure below.

Make sure to stay tuned for more updates on the integration of the SEArcularMINE pilot!

Interested in learning more? View this video for a more in-depth look at Boron, and the role it plays in the SEArcularMINE project.