IWA Publishing

YWP Weinrich perspective on RO membrane biofouling reduction

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Seawater desalination using reverse osmosis is an important part of a community’s water portfolio in coastal areas experiencing water scarcity. However, desalination using RO is expensive in part because of the costly challenges that arise from fouling on the RO membranes. Specifically, biological fouling emerged as the most poorly managed of the different types of fouling. My literature reviews and discussions with industry leaders helped identify the niche in which an AOC test could be used for measuring the potential for microbial growth in the RO feed water. If we could identify treatment conditions that increased the amount of AOC, or “food” for the bacteria colonizing the biofilm on the RO membranes then we could take steps to control and mitigate this adverse outcome, ultimately increasing seawater RO efficiency. I'd like to share an overview of my research.

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