From waste to resource

South Africa

The project leader of research group from South Africa – Lueta-Ann de Kock.

Lueta-Ann de Kock work is a Director of the Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability (NanoWS) Research Unit. It`s department of the University of South Africa (UNISA).

The South African research group will focus on the development of ion-exchange and composite ion exchange membranes for the fractionation and selective recovery of nutrients such as phosphate and nitrate from concentrated brine solutions. Removal of charged pollutants by fixed bed ion-exchange processes have been widely documented. Recent studies on the application of hybrid ion-exchange materials with different types of exchange sites have shown that charged pollutants in the presence of a competing species selectively exchange with one type of site. It is possible to selectively regenerate the different exchange sites, and in this manner fractionating the charged components and enabling the recovery the charged species in a relatively pure form. This work will aim to develop ion-exchange membranes that fractionate phosphate and nitrate form the other components in the contacting brine solution. Subsequent regeneration of the ion-exchange membranes will produce either a phosphate or nitrate-rich brine that can then be combined with other components to form slow release fertilizers.