Comparison of nanofiltration and reverse osmosis processes for a selective desalination of brackish water feeds

Abstract : A competing membrane process to Reverse Osmosis (RO) for brackish water desalination in the near future is Nanofiltration (NF). In this study, we tried to determine when apply of NF instead of RO for brackish water desalination is of a good relevance. In order to predict and compare NF and RO membranes performance, a fundamental study in laboratory scale was performed to a better understanding of the retention mechanisms of salts by several NF and RO membranes. The performance of the tested membranes was measured in terms of fluxes and rejection under different operating conditions (Feed solution composition, ionic strength, Hydrostatic pressure, recovery rate). The results showed that the rejections of salts increased with the feed pressure and decreased with the salt concentration and recovery rate. The Spiegler-Kedem-Katchalsky model (SKK) was used to analyse the experimental data of filtration experiments. The validation of the model applied allowed us to quantify the mass transfer parameters and to determine the mass transfer occurring in NF and RO (Convection and/or hydration diffusion). The membranes were also characterized using Atomic Force Microscopy, Streaming potential and Contact angle measurements with the goal of relating fluxes and salts retention behaviour with the membrane surface properties. The second part includes a technico-economical study comparing RO and NF processes for Tan Tan brackish water (4 g.L-1) desalination on pilot scale in Tan Tan BWRO plant. In this study, the performance of number of NF and RO modules was evaluated in terms of productivity, desalination efficiency and energy requirements. It was found that the RO modules sharply reduced the TDS of Tan Tan water (rejections > 90%). NF was observed to be an effective method to perform partial desalination of Tan Tan brackish water at higher permeates fluxes and lower applied pressures. The degrees of mineral salt removal with the NF90 and NE90 membranes were in the range of 72 and 95%. The results of pilot plant tests were compared with softwer projections. Significant deviations between pilot experiments and the simulations are obtained for some softwares, and pilot studies are required for the elements corresponding. This part also investigated the application of nanofiltration for demineralization of model solution simulating moderately brackish waters (salinity range of 4-10 g.L-1), and defluoridation of Tan Tan brackish water doped with fluoride at high concentrations. The results indicate the effectiveness of NF membranes (NF90 and NE90) in the treatment of brackish water feed of TDS lesser than 6 g.L-1. These membranes were also effective for fluoride removal at a satisfactory value.
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Hanane Dach. Comparison of nanofiltration and reverse osmosis processes for a selective desalination of brackish water feeds. Engineering Sciences [physics]. Université d'Angers, 2008. English. ⟨tel-00433513⟩

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