Performance of a SWRO membrane under variable flow conditions arising from wave powered desalination

Tapas K. Das, Matt Folley, Paul Lamont-Kane, Carwyn Frost*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

A wave-powered desalination unit couples a wave energy converter and reverse osmosis (RO) membrane to produce fresh water from pressurized seawater. Although renewable energy technologies have been increasingly used for desalination, the concept of direct wave-powered desalination system is still at an early stage of development. One of the challenges with direct wave-powered desalination is that while reverse osmosis (RO) membranes are typically designed to operate at a constant feed flow and pressure, wave energy converter outputs in the form of hydraulic pressures and flows are typically highly variable. In this work, a RO membrane is investigated under variable feed flow conditions to determine the potential impact of such operation on membrane performance. The feed flow and pressure are varied using both a traditional sinusoidal profile and a rectified sinusoidal profile - a case more representative for wave-powered desalination. The permeate recovery and permeate salinity for both cases are compared with the equivalent time-averaged steady-state conditions. For purely sinusoidal flow, the performance of the RO membrane was similar to the equivalent steady-state flow conditions. For rectified sinusoidal flow, there is a marginal increase in permeate recovery, while a significant increase in permeate salinity is observed. In addition, a membrane integrity test was carried out after both sets of varying flow conditions. A significant change in membrane performance was detected after the test with the rectified sinusoidal flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117069
Number of pages15
JournalDesalination
Volume571
Early online date01 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2024

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