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A Pilot Study of an Electromagnetic Field for Control of Reverse Osmosis Membrane Fouling and Scaling During Brackish Groundwater Desalination

1
Department of Civil Engineering, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
2
Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility, Alamogordo, NM 88310, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 1015; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11051015
Received: 4 May 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water and Wastewater Treatment)
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Abstract

This study investigated the effects of an electromagnetic field (EMF) on control of membrane fouling and scaling during desalination of brackish groundwater using a pilot reverse osmosis (RO) skid. The groundwater was primarily CaSO4 type with a total dissolved solids concentration of 5850 mg/L and hardness of 2500 mg/L as CaCO3. Two EMF devices were installed in the pipeline before a cartridge filter and in the RO feed inlet to induce an electric signal of ±150 kHz to the groundwater. The effects of EMF on membrane scaling were evaluated under accelerated conditions, i.e., without pH adjustment and addition of antiscalant. Two-phase experiments were conducted: Phase 1 (376 h) with the EMF devices turned on after 150 h baseline operation; and Phase 2 (753 h) with the EMF devices turned on from the beginning of testing. The EMF significantly reduced membrane scaling and improved RO performance by 38.3% and 14.3% in terms of normalized water permeability decline rate after 150 h and 370 h operation, respectively. Membrane autopsy results indicated that the fouling layer formed under the influence of EMF was loose with a low density and was easily removed by hydraulic flushing. View Full-Text
Keywords: electromagnetic field; reverse osmosis; desalination; membrane fouling; membrane scaling; brackish groundwater electromagnetic field; reverse osmosis; desalination; membrane fouling; membrane scaling; brackish groundwater
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Jiang, W.; Xu, X.; Lin, L.; Wang, H.; Shaw, R.; Lucero, D.; Xu, P. A Pilot Study of an Electromagnetic Field for Control of Reverse Osmosis Membrane Fouling and Scaling During Brackish Groundwater Desalination. Water 2019, 11, 1015.

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