Optimization of direct-osmosis–high-salinity cleaning for reverse osmosis fouling control in water reuse

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This paper focuses on the systematic approach adopted towards optimizing the salt consumption when using direct-osmosis–high-salinity (DO-HS) cleaning method for RO membranes in water reuse application. Trials were carried out on a pilot RO system with a capacity of 50 m3/day. Initially, proof of concept for the DO-HS method in water reuse application was established wherein the profile of osmotic driving force for DO backwash, DO backwash flow during HS injection, removal of foulants with DO-HS treatment and lower RO fouling rate with the DO-HS method were demonstrated. 6 months of trials further demonstrated that RO membrane fouling rate and CIP frequency could be significantly reduced with the DO-HS method and there was no impact on the performance of RO membranes. Further trials were carried out focusing of salt requirements and it was found that salt injection duration could be reduced by 68% while the 48-h interval of salt injection was not recommended. Currently, the salt consumption has been reduced from the initial at 0.5 ton to the current at 0.16 ton as per 10,000 m3/day production. The study is ongoing to achieve the target of 0.05 ton for ease of operation.

Keywords: backwash cleaning, direct osmosis, fouling control, reverse osmosis, salinity solution, water reuse

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