Boron removal efficiency from Red Sea water using different SWRO/BWRO membranes

Karina Rahmawati, NorEddine Ghaffour, Cyril Aubry, Gary L. Amy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination process provides high quality of fresh water. However, due to some operational constraints mainly scaling control some trace contaminant removal, such as acceptable boron concentration, cannot be achieved in a single pass SWRO system. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficiency of five difference reverse osmosis (RO) membranes (seawater SW and brackish water BW) provided by different manufacturers for boron removal. RO experiments using pretreated real Red Sea water were conducted in parallel to compare membrane performance under the same operating conditions. As expected, results showed that boron rejection increased as the feed pH increased. This was caused by dissociation of boric acid to negatively charged borate ions and more negatively charged membrane surface at elevated pH which enhanced boron rejection. Single pass RO system, with and without elevating the pH, may not be sufficient for two reasons. First, boron concentration in permeate does not fulfill local regulations (<0.5ppm). Second, severe scaling occurs due to operation in alkaline condition, since Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ concentrations are still high to cause salts precipitation. Techno-economical study was performed to select the best configuration and membrane giving the highest performance in terms of boron and TDS rejections and energy consumption. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-529
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Filtration and Separation
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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