Membrane-based seawater desalination

Present and future prospects

Gary Amy, Noreddine Ghaffour, Zhenyu Li, Lijo Francis, Rodrigo Valladares Linares, Thomas Missimer, Sabine Lattemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

122 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Given increasing regional water scarcity and that almost half of the world's population lives within 100 km of an ocean, seawater represents a virtually infinite water resource. However, its exploitation is presently limited by the significant specific energy consumption (kWh/m3) required by conventional desalination technologies, further exasperated by high unit costs ($/m3) and environmental impacts including GHG emissions (g CO2-eq/m3), organism impingement/entrainment through intakes, and brine disposal through outfalls. This paper explores the state-of-the-art in present seawater desalination practice, emphasizing membrane-based technologies, while identifying future opportunities in step improvements to conventional technologies and development of emerging, potentially disruptive, technologies through advances in material science, process engineering, and system integration. In this paper, seawater reverse osmosis (RO) serves as the baseline conventional technology. The discussion extends beyond desalting processes into membrane-based salinity gradient energy production processes, which can provide an energy offset to desalination process energy requirements. The future membrane landscape in membrane-based desalination and salinity gradient energy is projected to include ultrahigh permeability RO membranes, renewable-energy driven desalination, and emerging processes including closed-circuit RO, membrane distillation, forward osmosis, pressure retarded osmosis, and reverse electrodialysis according various niche applications and/or hybrids, operating separately or in conjunction with RO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalDesalination
Volume401
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

future prospect
Desalination
Seawater
desalination
Reverse osmosis
membrane
seawater
Membranes
Osmosis membranes
Osmosis
osmosis
Salt removal
Outfalls
Electrodialysis
energy
Process engineering
salinity
Materials science
Water resources
Waste disposal

Keywords

  • Greening of SWRO
  • Membranes
  • Seawater desalination
  • Specific energy consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Amy, G., Ghaffour, N., Li, Z., Francis, L., Linares, R. V., Missimer, T., & Lattemann, S. (2017). Membrane-based seawater desalination: Present and future prospects. Desalination, 401, 16-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2016.10.002

Membrane-based seawater desalination : Present and future prospects. / Amy, Gary; Ghaffour, Noreddine; Li, Zhenyu; Francis, Lijo; Linares, Rodrigo Valladares; Missimer, Thomas; Lattemann, Sabine.

In: Desalination, Vol. 401, 02.01.2017, p. 16-21.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Amy, G, Ghaffour, N, Li, Z, Francis, L, Linares, RV, Missimer, T & Lattemann, S 2017, 'Membrane-based seawater desalination: Present and future prospects', Desalination, vol. 401, pp. 16-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2016.10.002
Amy, Gary ; Ghaffour, Noreddine ; Li, Zhenyu ; Francis, Lijo ; Linares, Rodrigo Valladares ; Missimer, Thomas ; Lattemann, Sabine. / Membrane-based seawater desalination : Present and future prospects. In: Desalination. 2017 ; Vol. 401. pp. 16-21.
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