Ferric and cobaltous hydroacid complexes for forward osmosis (FO) processes

Q. Ge, F. Fu, T.-S. Chung
Water Research, volume 58, pp. 230238, (2014)

Ferric and cobaltous hydroacid complexes for forward osmosis (FO) processes


Forward osmosis, Draw solution, Hydroacid complex, Water treatment, Desalination


​Cupric and ferric hydroacid complexes have proven their advantages as draw solutes in forward osmosis in terms of high water fluxes, negligible reverse solute fluxes and easy recovery . Hydroacid complexes: A new class of draw solutes to promote forward osmosis (FO) processes. Chemical Communications 49, 8471–8473.). In this study, cobaltous hydroacid complexes were explored as draw solutes and compared with the ferric hydroacid complex to study the factors influencing their FO performance. The solutions of the cobaltous complexes produce high osmotic pressures due to the presence of abundant hydrophilic groups. These solutes are able to dissociate and form a multi-charged anion and Na+ cations in water. In addition, these complexes have expanded structures which lead to negligible reverse solute fluxes and provide relatively easy approaches in regeneration. These characteristics make the newly synthesized cobaltous complexes appropriate as draw solutes. The FO performance of the cobaltous and ferric-citric acid (Fe-CA) complexes were evaluated respectively through cellulose acetate membranes, thin-film composite membranes fabricated on polyethersulfone supports (referred as TFC-PES), and polybenzimidazole and PES dual-layer (referred as PBI/PES) hollow fiber membranes. Under the conditions of DI water as the feed and facing the support layer of TFC-PES FO membranes (PRO mode), draw solutions at 2.0 M produced relatively high water fluxes of 39–48 LMH (L m−2 hr−1) with negligible reverse solute fluxes. A water flux of 17.4 LMH was achieved when model seawater of 3.5 wt.% NaCl replaced DI water as the feed and 2.0 M Fe-CA as the draw solution under the same conditions. The performance of these hydroacid complexes surpasses those of the synthetic draw solutes developed in recent years. This observation, along with the relatively easy regeneration, makes these complexes very promising as a novel class of draw solutes.


DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.03.024


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