Performance evaluation of reverse osmosis (RO) pre-treatment technologies for in-land brackish water treatment

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
Journal / PublicationDesalination
Online published15 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


Integration of renewable energy with desalination technologies has emerged as an attractive solution to augment fresh water supply sustainably. Fouling and scaling are still considered as limiting factors in membrane desalination processes. For brackish water treatment, pre-treatment of reverse osmosis (RO) feed water is a key step in designing RO plants avoiding membrane fouling. This study aims to compare at pilot scale the rejection efficiency of RO membranes with multiple pre-treatment options at different water recoveries (30, 35, 40, 45 and 50%) and TDS concentrations (3500, 4000, and 4500 mg/L). Synthetic brackish water was prepared and performance evaluation were carried out using brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) membranes (Filmtec LC-LE-4040 and Hydranautics CPA5-LD-4040) preceded by 5 and 1 μm cartridge filters, 0.02 μm ultra-filtration (UF) membrane, and forward osmosis (FO) membrane using 0.25 M NaCl and MgClas draw solutions (DS). It was revealed that FO membrane with 0.25 M MgCl2used as a draw solution (DS) and Ultra-filtration (UF) membrane followed by Filmtec membrane gave overall 98% rejection but UF facing high fouling potential due to high applied pressure. Use of 5 and 1 μm cartridge filter prior to Filmtec membrane also showed effective results with 95% salt rejection.

Research Area(s)

  • Brackish water, Forward osmosis (FO), Permeate TDS, Rejection efficiency, Reverse osmosis (RO), Ultrafiltration (UF)