K. Rahmawati, N. Ghaffour, C. Aubry, G.L. Amy
Journal of Membrane Science, 423-424, 522-52, (2012)
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 (<0.5 ppm). Second, severe scaling occurs due to operation in alkaline condition, since Ca2+ and Mg2+ 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.