Calcium carbonate pellets are produced as a by-product in the pellet softening process. In the Netherlands, these pellets are applied as a raw material in several industrial and agricultural processes. The sand grain inside the pellet hinders the application in some high-potential market segments such as paper and glass. Substitution of the sand grain with a calcite grain (100% calcium carbonate) is in principle possible, and could significantly improve the pellet quality. In this study, the grinding and sieving of pellets, and the subsequent reuse as seeding material in pellet softening were tested with two pilot reactors in parallel. In one reactor, garnet sand was used as seeding material, in the other ground calcite. Garnet sand and ground calcite performed equally well. An economic comparison and a life-cycle assessment were made as well. The results show that the reuse of ground calcite as seeding material in pellet softening is technologically possible, reduces the operational costs by €38,000 (1%) and reduces the environmental impact by 5%. Therefore, at the drinking water facility, Weesperkarspel of Waternet, the transition from garnet sand to ground calcite will be made at full scale, based on this pilot plant research.

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