Efficiently Combining Water Reuse and Desalination through Forward Osmosis-Reverse Osmosis (FO-RO) Hybrids: A Critical Review.
ABSTRACT: Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising membrane technology to combine seawater desalination and water reuse. More specifically, in a FO-reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid process, high quality water recovered from the wastewater stream is used to dilute seawater before RO treatment. As such, lower desalination energy needs and/or water augmentation can be obtained while delivering safe water for direct potable reuse thanks to the double dense membrane barrier protection. Typically, FO-RO hybrid can be a credible alternative to new desalination facilities or to implementation of stand-alone water reuse schemes. However, apart from the societal (public perception of water reuse for potable application) and water management challenges (proximity of wastewater and desalination plants), FO-RO hybrid has to overcome technical limitation such as low FO permeation flux to become economically attractive. Recent developments (i.e., improved FO membranes, use of pressure assisted osmosis, PAO) demonstrated significant improvement in water flux. However, flux improvement is associated with drawbacks, such as increased fouling behaviour, lower rejection of trace organic compounds (TrOCs) in PAO operation, and limitation in FO membrane mechanical resistance, which need to be better considered. To support successful implementation of FO-RO hybrid in the industry, further work is required regarding up-scaling to apprehend full-scale challenges in term of mass transfer limitation, pressure drop, fouling and cleaning strategies on a module scale. In addition, refined economics assessment is expected to integrate fouling and other maintenance costs/savings of the FO/PAO-RO hybrid systems, as well as cost savings from any treatment step avoided in the water recycling.
Project description:Managing the wastewater discharged from oil and shale gas fields is a big challenge, because this kind of wastewater is normally polluted by high contents of both oils and salts. Conventional pressure-driven membranes experience little success for treating this wastewater because of either severe membrane fouling or incapability of desalination. In this study, we designed a new nanocomposite forward osmosis (FO) membrane for accomplishing simultaneous oil/water separation and desalination. This nanocomposite FO membrane is composed of an oil-repelling and salt-rejecting hydrogel selective layer on top of a graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets infused polymeric support layer. The hydrogel selective layer demonstrates strong underwater oleophobicity that leads to superior anti-fouling capability under various oil/water emulsions, and the infused GO in support layer can significantly mitigate internal concentration polarization (ICP) through reducing FO membrane structural parameter by as much as 20%. Compared with commercial FO membrane, this new FO membrane demonstrates more than three times higher water flux, higher removals for oil and salts (>99.9% for oil and >99.7% for multivalent ions) and significantly lower fouling tendency when investigated with simulated shale gas wastewater. These combined merits will endorse this new FO membrane with wide applications in treating highly saline and oily wastewaters.
Project description:Forward osmosis (FO) has emerged as a new technology for desalination and exhibits potentials for applications where reverse osmosis is incapable or uneconomical for treating streams with high salinity or fouling propensity. However, most of current draw agents in FO are salts and difficult to be recycled cost- and energy-effectively. In this work, we demonstrate a new and facile approach to efficiently recover water from the FO process with enhanced water purity by using a binary ion liquid/hydrogel system. The hybrid ion liquid/hydrogel draw solution system demonstrated in this work synergistically leverages the thermoresponsive properties of both the ionic liquid (IL) and hydrogel to improve the overall FO performance. Our findings corroborate that the hydrogel mitigates the water flux decline of the IL as the draw agent and provide a ready route to contiguously and effectively regenerate water from the FO process. Such a route allows for an efficient recovery of water from the draw solute/water mixture with enhanced water purity, compared with conventional thermal treating of lower critical solution temperature IL draw solute/water. Furthermore, hydrogels can be used in a continuous and readily recyclable process to recover water without heating the entire draw solute/water mixture. Our design principles open the door to use low-grade/waste heat or solar energy to regenerate draw agents and potentially reduce energy in the FO process considerably.
Project description:The design of a hybrid forward osmosis-nanofiltration (FO-NF) system for the extraction of high-quality water from wastewater is presented here. Simulations were performed based on experimental results obtained in a previous study using real wastewater as the feed solution. A sensitivity analysis, conducted to evaluate the influence of different process parameters, showed that an optimum configuration can be designed with (i) an influent draw solution osmotic pressure equal to 15 bar and (ii) a ratio of influent draw solution to feed solution flow rate equal to 1.5:1. With this configuration, the simulations suggested that the overall FO-NF system can achieve up to 85% water recovery using Na2SO4 or MgCl2 as the draw solute. The modular configuration and the size of the NF stage, accommodating approximately 7000 m2 of active membrane area, was a function of the properties of the membranes selected to separate the draw solutes and water, while detailed simulations indicated that the size of the FO unit might be reduced by adopting a counter-current configuration. Experimental tests with samples of the relevant wastewater showed that Cl-- and Mg2+-based draw solutes would be associated with larger membrane fouling, possibly due to their interaction with the other substances present in the feed solution. However, the results suggest that fouling would not significantly decrease the performance of the designed system. This study contributes to the further evaluation and potential implementation of FO in water reuse systems.
Project description:Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising alternative to reverse osmosis (RO) in membrane-based water desalination. In the current study, carboxylated multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were incorporated in a polyamide (PA) layer formed on top of a polysulfone porous support, resulting in a thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membrane. The amount of MWCNTs was varied (0.01, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.2 wt/vol %). The FO performance was investigated using deionized water as the feed solution and 2 M NaCl as the draw solution. It was found that the carboxylated MWCNTs enhanced the membrane hydrophilicity, surface roughness, and porosity. Such combined effects are believed to have led to enhanced FO water flux. TFN 0.2 showed the highest FO water flux of 73.15 L/m<sup>2</sup> h, an improvement of 67% compared to the blank thin-film composite (TFC) membrane and significantly better than the values reported in the literature. Direct observation by transmission electron microscopy revealed the presence of some open-ended CNTs favorably oriented across the PA layer. Those are believed to have facilitated the transport of water through their inner cores and contributed to the increase in water flux. However, this was at the expense of salt rejection and reverse solute flux performance. The best performing membrane was found to be TFN 0.01. It exhibited a salt rejection of 90.1% with a FO water flux of 50.23 L/m<sup>2</sup> h, which is 13% higher than the TFC membrane, and a reverse solute flux of 2.76 g/m<sup>2</sup> h, which is 21% lower than the TFC membrane. This TFN 0.01 membrane also outperformed the TFN membranes reported in the literature.
Project description:Although forward osmosis (FO) membranes have shown great promise for many applications, there are few studies attempting to create a systematization of the testing conditions at a pilot scale for FO membrane modules. To address this issue, hollow fiber forward osmosis (HFFO) membrane modules with different performances (water flux and solute rejection) have been investigated at different operating conditions. Various draw and feed flow rates, draw solute types and concentrations, transmembrane pressures, temperatures, and operation modes have been studied using two model feed solutions-deionized water and artificial seawater. The significance of the operational conditions in the FO process was attributed to a dominant role of concentration polarization (CP) effects, where the selected draw solute and draw concentration had the biggest impact on membrane performance due to internal CP. Additionally, the rejection of the HFFO membranes using three model solutes (caffeine, niacin, and urea) were determined under both FO and reverse osmosis (RO) conditions with the same process recovery. FO rejections had an increase of 2% for caffeine, 19% for niacin, and 740% for urea compared to the RO rejections. Overall, this is the first extensive study of commercially available inside-out HFFO membrane modules.
Project description:Clean water obtained by desalinating sea water or by purifying wastewater, constitutes a major technological objective in the so-called water century. In this work, a high-performance reverse osmosis (RO) composite thin membrane using multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and aromatic polyamide (PA), was successfully prepared by interfacial polymerization. The effect of MWCNT on the chlorine resistance, antifouling and desalination performances of the nanocomposite membranes were studied. We found that a suitable amount of MWCNT in PA, 15.5 wt.%, not only improves the membrane performance in terms of flow and antifouling, but also inhibits the chlorine degradation on these membranes. Therefore, the present results clearly establish a solid foundation towards more efficient large-scale water desalination and other water treatment processes.
Project description:Forward osmosis (FO) is a membrane technology that uses the osmotic pressure difference to treat two fluids at a time giving the opportunity for an energy-efficient water and wastewater treatment. Various applications are possible; one of them is the application in industrial water management. In this review paper, the basic principle of FO is explained and the state-of-the-art regarding FO application in manufacturing industries is described. Examples of FO application were found for food and beverage industry, chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, coal processing, micro algae cultivation, textile industry, pulp and paper industry, electronic industry, and car manufacturing. FO publications were also found about heavy metal elimination and cooling water treatment. However, so far FO was applied in lab-scale experiments only. The up-scaling on pilot- or full-scale will be the essential next step. Long-term fouling behavior, membrane cleaning methods, and operation procedures are essential points that need to be further investigated. Moreover, energetic and economic evaluations need to be performed before full-scale FO can be implemented in industries.
Project description:Despite its attractive features for energy saving separation, the performance of forward osmosis (FO) has been restricted by internal concentration polarization and fast fouling propensity that occur in the membrane sublayer. These problems have significantly affected the membrane performance when treating highly contaminated oily wastewater. In this study, a novel double-skinned FO membrane with excellent anti-fouling properties has been developed for emulsified oil-water treatment. The double-skinned FO membrane comprises a fully porous sublayer sandwiched between a highly dense polyamide (PA) layer for salt rejection and a fairly loose dense bottom zwitterionic layer for emulsified oil particle removal. The top dense PA layer was synthesized via interfacial polymerization meanwhile the bottom layer was made up of a zwitterionic polyelectrolyte brush - (poly(3-(N-2-methacryloxyethyl-N,N-dimethyl) ammonatopropanesultone), abbreviated as PMAPS layer. The resultant double-skinned membrane exhibited a high water flux of 13.7?±?0.3?L/m<sup>2</sup>.h and reverse salt transport of 1.6?±?0.2?g/m<sup>2</sup>.h under FO mode using 2?M NaCl as the draw solution and emulsified oily solution as the feed. The double-skinned membrane outperforms the single-skinned membrane with much lower fouling propensity for emulsified oil-water separation.
Project description:Forward osmosis (FO) has rarely been investigated as a treatment technology for industrial wastewaters. Within this study, common FO model equations were applied to simulate forward osmosis treatment of industrial wastewaters from the automobile industry. Three different models from literature were used and compared. Permeate and reverse solute flux modelling was implemented using MS Excel with a Generalized Reduced Gradient (GRG) Nonlinear Solver. For the industrial effluents, the unknown diffusion coefficients were calibrated and the influences of the membrane parameters were investigated. Experimental data was used to evaluate the models. It could be proven that common model equations can describe FO treatment of industrial effluents from the automobile industry. Even with few known solution properties, it was possible to determine permeate fluxes and draw conclusions about mass transport. However, the membrane parameters, which are apparently not solution independent and seem to differ for each industrial effluent, are critical values. Fouling was not included in the model equations although it is a crucial point in FO treatment of industrial wastewaters. But precisely for this reason, modelling is a good complement to laboratory experiments since the difference between the results allows conclusions to be drawn about fouling.
Project description:Desalination of geothermal brackish water by membrane distillation (MD) provides a low recovery rate, but integrating MD with reverse osmosis (RO) can maximize the production rate. In this study, different design configurations of a hybrid system involving brine recycling and cascading are studied via simulations, and the performance improvement due to the process integration is substantiated via the increased recovery rate and reduced specific energy consumption. Brine recycling is also found to improve the recovery rate considerably to 40% at an energy cost of 0.9 $/m3. However, this achievement is only valid when the final brine is recycled to the RO feed: when the final brine is recycled to the MD feed, the overall performance degrades because the recycled brine cools the feed and causes a serious reduction in the driving force and the consequent production rate. Configuring the hybrid system in multiple stages connected in series increases the recovery rate to 90% and reduces the specific energy consumption to 0.9 MJ/kg. Although the specific energy cost increases dramatically because external inter-stage heating is implemented, using a free energy source (such as a geothermal or waste-energy source) for inter-stage heating could provide the optimum configuration.