Combination of forward osmosis (FO) process with coagulation/flocculation (CF) for potential treatment of textile wastewater

Gang Han, Can Zeng Liang, Tai Shung Chung*, Martin Weber, Claudia Staudt, Christian Maletzko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


A novel combination of forward osmosis (FO) process with coagulation/flocculation (CF) (FO-CF) has been experimentally conceived for the treatment and reuse of textile wastewater. FO is employed to spontaneously recover water from the wastewater via osmosis and thus effectively reduces its volume with a dramatically enhanced dye concentration. CF is then applied to precipitate and remove dyes from the FO concentrated stream with much improved efficiency and reduced chemical dosage. The FO-CF hybrid system exhibits unique advantages of high water flux and recovery rate, well controlled membrane fouling, high efficiency, and minimal environmental impact. Using a lab-made thin-film composite (TFC) FO membrane, an initial water flux (Jw) of 36.0 L m-2 h-1 with a dye rejection of 99.9% has been demonstrated by using 2 M NaCl as the draw solution and synthetic textile wastewater containing multiple textile dyes, inorganic salts and organic additives as the feed under the FO mode. The Jw could be maintained at a high value of 12.0 L m-2 h-1 even when the recovery rate of the wastewater reaches 90%. Remarkable reverse fouling behavior has also been observed where the Jw of the fouled membrane can be almost fully restored to the initial value by physical flushing without using any chemicals. Due to the great dye concentration in the FO concentrated wastewater stream, the CF process could achieve more than 95% dye removal with a small dosage of coagulants and flocculants at 500-1000 ppm. The newly developed FO-CF hybrid process may open up new exploration of alternative technologies for the effective treatment and reuse of textile effluents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-370
Number of pages10
JournalWater research
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Coagulation and flocculation
  • Forward osmosis
  • TFC membrane
  • Textile wastewater treatment
  • Water reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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