The desalination process to produce salts leaves wastewater with a high concentration of minerals called bittern. Most salt producers dump bittern straight away. Such disposal is dangerous to the ecosystem since bittern may increase the environmental salinity. Furthermore, bittern still has potential as it contains minerals that can be extracted and offers value. Consequently, further bittern treatment is necessary to reduce the environmental impact and create a circular economy. However, some specific requirements are needed in determining how to carry out this recovery process. In that, recovery managers need to know the most suitable type and optimal operation variables. These are essential to meet cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits. This research proposes a mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) model for analyzing the supply and demand of the bittern recovery. This study offers a model to optimize the trade-off between cost and benefits of the recovery process. There are three scenarios to determine the best bittern recovery practices: centralized, decentralized, and hybrid scenarios. The proposed models are then tested and analyzed for their sensitivity due to essential parameters. The numerical analysis has shown that a centralized scenario is best suited for a region with a low bittern supply. Moreover, a hybrid scenario is best suited in an area with a higher bittern supply. In addition, a decentralized scenario is the most suitable option for a region where the number of salt farms is high, and the location is far from the recovery facility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-648
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Bittern recovery
  • Circular economy
  • Mixed integer nonlinear programming


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