Waste to wealth: A critical analysis of resource recovery from desalination brine

Ihsanullah Ihsanullah*, Jawad Mustafa, Abdul Mannan Zafar, M. Obaid, Muataz A. Atieh, Noreddine Ghaffour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Desalination brine has several potential adverse impacts on the marine environment. Though, the concerns and counter-arguments regarding the environmental impacts of desalination brine have remained under debate. Resource recovery from desalination brine is a fascinating approach not only to minimize these harmful impacts but also to reduce the cost of desalination by generating revenues. In addition, it provides a sustainable way of extracting precious materials from the brine compared to land-based mining and can increase the profitability of desalination facilities if these materials could be marketed. The recovery of these minerals, however, depends on several factors such as energy considerations, economy, feasibility, and technical aspects of the technology. This article presents a critical and comprehensive review to evaluate the various techniques for the recovery of minerals from desalination brine. The commonly used approaches for the recovery of precious materials from brine include electrochemical processes, physiochemical driven processes, thermal driven techniques and pressure-driven techniques. Key technological challenges associated with these techniques are highlighted. Recommendations for future work are also provided to develop more sustainable approaches for the recovery of precious materials from brine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116093
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (41271015, 41225002 and 41421061), State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science (SKLCS-ZZ-2008-01 and SKLCS-OP-2014-05), Academy of Finland (decision number 268170). The authors acknowledge staff of Lulang station and. Everest Station for sample collecting. The authors want to express their gratitude to Prof. ?rjan Gustafsson, Dr. August Andersson and Dr. Carme Bosch for helping calculating DRF of WSOC to EC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Brine management
  • Circular economy
  • Desalination brine
  • Metal recovery
  • Resource recovery
  • Seawater mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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