Algal blooms: an emerging threat to seawater reverse osmosis desalination

Loreen O. Villacorte, S. Assiyeh Alizadeh Tabatabai, N. Dhakal, Gary L. Amy, Jan Cornelis Schippers, Maria Dolores Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination technology has been rapidly growing in terms of installed capacity and global application over the last decade. An emerging threat to SWRO application is the seasonal proliferation of microscopic algae in seawater known as algal blooms. Such blooms have caused operational problems in SWRO plants due to clogging and poor effluent quality of the pre-treatment system which eventually forced the shutdown of various desalination plants to avoid irreversible fouling of downstream SWRO membranes. This article summarizes the current state of SWRO technology and the emerging threat of algal blooms to its application. It also highlights the importance of studying the algal bloom phenomena in the perspective of seawater desalination, so proper mitigation and preventive strategies can be developed in the near future. © 2014 © 2014 Balaban Desalination Publications. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2601-2611
Number of pages11
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 4 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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