Inorganic fouling mitigation by salinity cycling in batch reverse osmosis

This study considers the inorganic foulants calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, and silica, and the work predicts maximum recovery ratios for the treatment of typical water sources using batch reverse osmosis and continuous reverse osmosis

David M. Warsinger; Emily W. Tow; Laith A. Maswadeh; Grace B. Connors; Jaichander Swaminathan; John H. Lienhard V


Scholarcy highlights

  • Membrane fouling, such as scaling by salts, is a significant barrier to implementation of water treatment technologies, including the dominant desalination technology, reverse osmosis
  • Induction time correlations were derived from experimental data, the relationship of nucleation induction time to the time delay before scaling in RO has not been previously validated
  • This study developed and validated a simple method of predicting the occurrence of scaling in batch RO systems
  • The model equates the time delay of fouling to the nucleation induction time based on correlations from the literature
  • The model was validated against experimental data for fouling time delay in continuous RO and used to predict the increase in recovery ratio achievable through the use of batch RO with different water sources
  • In systems limited by CaSO4 scaling, batch operation can reach high recoveries under conditions that limit continuous RO recovery to 60%

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