Investigation of flux stability and fouling mechanism during simultaneous treatment of different produced water streams using forward osmosis and membrane distillation.

Muhammad Saqib Nawaz, Hyuk Soo Son, Yong Jin, Youngjin Kim, Sofiane Soukane, Mohammed Ali Al-Hajji, Muhannad Abu-Ghdaib, NorEddine Ghaffour

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Forward osmosis-membrane distillation (FO-MD) hybrids were recently found suitable for produced water treatment. Exclusion of synthetic chemical draw solutions, typically used for FO, can reduce FO-MD operational costs and ease its onsite application. This study experimentally validates a novel concept for the simultaneous treatment of different produced water streams available at the same industrial site using an FO-MD hybrid system. The water oil separator outlet (WO) stream was selected as FO draw solution and it generated average fluxes ranging between 8.30 LMH and 26.78 LMH with four different feed streams. FO fluxes were found to be governed by the complex composition of the feed streams. On the other hand, with WO stream as MD feed, an average flux of 14.41 LMH was achieved. Calcium ions were found as a main reason for MD flux decline in the form of CaSO4 scaling and stimulating the interaction between the membrane and humic acid molecules to form scale layer causing reduction in heat transfer and decline in MD flux (6%). Emulsified oil solution was responsible for partial pore clogging resulting in further 2% flux decline. Ethylenediaminetetraaceticacid (EDTA) was able to mask a portion of calcium ions and resulted in a complete recovery of the original MD flux. Under hybrid FO-MD experiments MD fluxes between 5.62 LMH and 11.12 LMH were achieved. Therefore, the novel concept is validated to produce fairly stable FO and MD fluxes, with few streams, without severe fouling and producing excellent product water quality.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117157
JournalWater research
StatePublished - May 2 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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