Application of volume-retarded osmosis and low-pressure membrane hybrid process for water reclamation

Sung-Ju Im, Jungwon Choi, Jung Gil Lee, Sanghyun Jeong, Am Jang

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12 Scopus citations


A new concept of volume-retarded osmosis and low-pressure membrane (VRO-LPM) hybrid process was developed and evaluated for the first time in this study. Commercially available forward osmosis (FO) and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes were employed in a VRO-LPM hybrid process to overcome energy limitations of draw solution (DS) regeneration and production of permeate in the FO process. To evaluate its feasibility as a water reclamation process, and to optimize the operational conditions, cross-flow FO and dead-end mode UF processes were individually evaluated. For the FO process, a DS concentration of 0.15 g mL−1 of polysulfonate styrene (PSS) was determined to be optimal, having a high flux with a low reverse salt flux. The UF membrane with a molecular weight cut-off of 1 kDa was chosen for its high PSS rejection in the LPM process. As a single process, UF (LPM) exhibited a higher flux than FO, but this could be controlled by adjusting the effective membrane area of the FO and UF membranes in the VRO-LPM system. The VRO-LPM hybrid process only required a circulation pump for the FO process. This led to a decrease in the specific energy consumption of the VRO-LPM process for potable water production, that was similar to the single FO process. Therefore, the newly developed VRO-LPM hybrid process, with an appropriate DS selection, can be used as an energy efficient water production method, and can outperform conventional water reclamation processes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017

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