Predicting Fouling in RO Desalination Systems

Ruiz-García A, Melián-Martel N, Nuez I. Short Review on Predicting Fouling in RO Desalination. Membranes (Basel) 2017 Oct 24;7(4). pii: E62. doi: 10.3390/membranes7040062.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane fouling is one of the main challenges that membrane manufactures, the scientific community and industry professionals have to deal with. The consequences of this inevitable phenomenon have a negative effect on the performance of the desalination system. Predicting fouling in RO systems is key to evaluating the long-term operating conditions and costs. Much research has been done on fouling indices, methods, techniques and prediction models to estimate the influence of fouling on the performance of RO systems. This paper offers a short review evaluating the state of industry knowledge in the development of fouling indices and models in membrane systems for desalination in terms of use and applicability. Despite major efforts in this field, there are gaps in terms of effective methods and models for the estimation of fouling in full-scale RO desalination plants. In existing models applied to full-scale RO desalination plants, neither the spacer geometry of membranes, nor the efficiency and frequency of chemical cleanings are considered.

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