Nanofiltration technology in water treatment and reuse: applications and costs

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Nanofiltration (NF) is a relatively recent development in membrane technology with characteristics that fall between ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis (RO). While RO membranes dominate the seawater desalination industry, NF is employed in a variety of water and wastewater treatment and industrial applications for the selective removal of ions and organic substances, as well as certain niche seawater desalination applications. The purpose of this study was to review the application of NF membranes in the water and wastewater industry including water softening and color removal, industrial wastewater treatment, water reuse, and desalination. Basic economic analyses were also performed to compare the profitability of using NF membranes over alternative processes. Although any detailed cost estimation is hampered by some uncertainty (e.g. applicability of estimation methods to large-scale systems, labor costs in different areas of the world), NF was found to be a cost-effective technology for certain investigated applications. The selection of NF over other treatment technologies, however, is dependent on several factors including pretreatment requirements, influent water quality, treatment facility capacity, and treatment goals.

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