A systematic approach to optimal membrane network synthesis for seawater desalination

Sabla Y. Alnouri, Patrick Linke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


A systematic approach to the synthesis of membrane networks for sea water desalination is introduced. The approach is based on the coordinated use of process superstructure representations and optimization. It consists of a targeting step to determine the performance limit of the system as well as a design step in which the performances of fundamentally different design classes are systematically explored and compared. Problem insights are employed to develop compact network representations in the form of lean superstructures for each step. The network design classes explored in the design step constitute partitions of the overall search space based on network size and connectivity so that fundamentally different designs can systematically be explored and compared. Structural and operational variants within each lean superstructure in the targeting and design steps are globally optimized to extract the best performing options. The approach offers benefits over existing superstructure based approaches in that individual optimization problems are computationally significantly less expensive whilst the overall approach provides the design engineer with multiple distinct design candidates to stimulate improved understanding. The approach is illustrated with a previously reported case study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-112
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012



  • Desalination
  • Membrane networks
  • Optimization
  • Process design
  • Reverse osmosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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