It was recently reported that a UK company has developed a naturally non-toxic magnetoferritin to act as a draw solute for drawing water in forward osmosis process. The gist of this technology is the utilization of the magnetic nanoparticle and high-gradient magnetic separation for draw solute separation and reuse. However, any demonstration on this technology has not been reported yet. In this study, a feasibility test of magnetic separation using magnetic nanoparticle was therefore performed to investigate the possibility of magnetic separation in water treatment such as desalination. Basically, a magnetic separation system consisted of a column packed with a bed of magnetically susceptible wools placed between the poles of electromagnet and Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticle was used as a model nanoparticle. The effect of nanoparticle size to applied magnetic field in separation column was experimentally investigated and the magnetic field distribution in a magnet gap and the magnetic field gradient around stainless steel wool wire were analyzed through numerical simulation. The amount of magnetic nanoparticle captured in the separator column increased as the magnetic field strength and particle size increased. As a result, if magnetic separation is intended to be used for draw solute separation and reuse, both novel nanoparticle and large-scale high performance magnetic separator must be developed.
Keywords: draw solute recovery, forward osmosis, high-gradient magnetic separation, magnetic nanoparticle