Comparative Energy Consumption Analysis of Membrane Treatment Processes
By Rajindar Singh
Membrane processes are used for many purposes. Examples include desalinating and purifying different types of waters: seawater, brackish water, surface water and groundwater for potable use, high-purity water production for industrial use, as well as domestic and industrial wastewater such as produced water for reclamation and for indirect potable reuse (IPR) (1-3). IPR refers to the practice of using integrated membrane systemsﾗmicrofiltration (MF)/ultrafiltration (UF)/nanofiltration (NF)/reverse osmosis (RO)ﾗ treated wastewater to augment surface or groundwater supplies. The production and supply of potable water using seawater and brackish water RO desalination, and reclamation of wastewater for reuse by membrane filtration has seen a rapid growth in the last decade to meet the growing demands of water in many regions of the world. For example, more than a dozen large seawater RO plants with product water production capacities of up to 500,000 cubic meters per day (m3/d) (~130 million gallons per day) have been commissioned in the last decade (1), driven by a substantial reduction in desalinated seawater energy consumption (from 10 kilowatt hours per cubic meter [kWh/m3] to 2.6 kWh/m3), and cost (from $1.75/m3 to < $ 0.75/m3) in the last 30 years.
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