How Brine Is Used in the Chlorine Production Process
February 10, 2022
Chlorine is a highly reactive chemical element that readily combines with other atoms to produce compounds with many practical uses. Commonly found in nature combined with sodium as salt (NaCl), additional processes are used to produce elemental chlorine, which is used in drinking water and swimming pool sanitization. While these applications might be the most familiar, the predominant uses of chlorine are in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), synthetic rubber, and solvents used in dry cleaning. To facilitate such high demand for chlorine, the United States uses an industrial method to produce 14 million tons annually.
How Chlorine is produced
Chlorine is produced through the electrolysis of brine in a process known as Chlor-Alkali. This industrial method of making chlorine uses two electrodes in a brine solution with a voltage applied between them. This process passes an electrical current through the brine and draws ions in the solution to the positive and negative terminals. The electrolysis of brine separates the salt water solution through a porous membrane resulting in the negative anode drawing the positively charged chlorine ions to it while the positive cathode collects the negatively charged hydrogen ions found in the water. The remaining liquid solution then becomes the alkali, sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which also has many industrial uses as caustic soda. The use of a diaphragm or ion exchange membrane maintains the cathode and anode separated so that their ions do not recombine into sodium hypochlorite. These separate constituents are then processed and stored for transportation or further processing.
The chlorine production industry requires large quantities of brine to meet consumer demands. Additionally, the brine required for the process must be specially treated and requires precise levels of saturation and purity. To this end, the chlor-alkali industry relies heavily on the brine production industry for both quantity and quality.
Texas Brine Company
The largest independent brine producer in the United States is Texas Brine Company LLC, supplying thirty percent of the chlor-alkali industry’s brine requirements. Our brine is produced through a process called solution mining. Texas Brine Company LLC mines underground salt domes or beds by pumping fresh water into the underground salt. The water dissolves the salt and is extracted as a saturated brine solution. The brine is then treated to remove impurities before being introduced to the Chlor-Alkali process. After completion, the underground cavern created by the process can be used for the safe storage of large quantities of liquids, gases, and crude oil. Texas Brine Company provides extensive safety training and is committed to providing a safe working environment for its employees. As a member of the American Chemistry Council, our company emphasizes community involvement and awareness through the Responsible Care® program which has set the chemical industry’s standard for environmental concerns, safety, and health for over thirty years.