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Membranes 2016, 6(3), 37; doi:10.3390/membranes6030037

Efficiently Combining Water Reuse and Desalination through Forward Osmosis—Reverse Osmosis (FO-RO) Hybrids: A Critical Review

1
LEQUIA, Institute of the environment, University of Girona, Campus Montilivi, Girona 17003, Spain
2
Department of Applied Analytical and Physical Chemistry, Ghent University, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Particle and Interfacial Technology Group (PaInT), Gent 9000, Belgium
3
UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW2052, Australia
4
ICRA, Catalan Institute for Water Research, Parc scientific and technologic of the university of Girona, Girona 17003, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marco Stoller and Javier Miguel Ochando-Pulido
Received: 31 May 2016 / Revised: 24 June 2016 / Accepted: 27 June 2016 / Published: 1 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes and Water Treatment 2016)
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Abstract

Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising membrane technology to combine seawater desalination and water reuse. More specifically, in a FO-reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid process, high quality water recovered from the wastewater stream is used to dilute seawater before RO treatment. As such, lower desalination energy needs and/or water augmentation can be obtained while delivering safe water for direct potable reuse thanks to the double dense membrane barrier protection. Typically, FO-RO hybrid can be a credible alternative to new desalination facilities or to implementation of stand-alone water reuse schemes. However, apart from the societal (public perception of water reuse for potable application) and water management challenges (proximity of wastewater and desalination plants), FO-RO hybrid has to overcome technical limitation such as low FO permeation flux to become economically attractive. Recent developments (i.e., improved FO membranes, use of pressure assisted osmosis, PAO) demonstrated significant improvement in water flux. However, flux improvement is associated with drawbacks, such as increased fouling behaviour, lower rejection of trace organic compounds (TrOCs) in PAO operation, and limitation in FO membrane mechanical resistance, which need to be better considered. To support successful implementation of FO-RO hybrid in the industry, further work is required regarding up-scaling to apprehend full-scale challenges in term of mass transfer limitation, pressure drop, fouling and cleaning strategies on a module scale. In addition, refined economics assessment is expected to integrate fouling and other maintenance costs/savings of the FO/PAO-RO hybrid systems, as well as cost savings from any treatment step avoided in the water recycling. View Full-Text
Keywords: potable water reuse; seawater desalination; pressure assisted osmosis; module; fouling; trace organic contaminants potable water reuse; seawater desalination; pressure assisted osmosis; module; fouling; trace organic contaminants
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MDPI and ACS Style

Blandin, G.; Verliefde, A.R.; Comas, J.; Rodriguez-Roda, I.; Le-Clech, P. Efficiently Combining Water Reuse and Desalination through Forward Osmosis—Reverse Osmosis (FO-RO) Hybrids: A Critical Review. Membranes 2016, 6, 37.

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