Optimal seawater reverse osmosis network design considering product water boron specifications

Sabla Y. Alnouri, Patrick Linke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a process synthesis strategy and optimization approach that accounts for boron removal considerations in Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) network design. The overall aim is to provide an improved understating of the performance of SWRO networks when specific requirements on boron levels in the system need to be met. In theory, this work utilizes the aspects of a well-defined SWRO network synthesis problem that has already been introduced in previous work, and builds on the existing representation by incorporating a number of fundamental aspects that facilitate boron removal in the system. This primarily included the determination of appropriate pH level conditions for the various network streams involved, in addition to the incorporation of a number of RO membrane element choices to be utilized in the system. Therefore, the design options allowed for the integration of a diverse mix of viable RO membrane elements within a single network, rather than strictly relying on one membrane type for all units. This was found necessary since different categories of RO membranes certainly have altered effects on the system's performance. Efforts directed towards investigating the effects of common operating parameters on boron rejection has been carried out by means of computer-aided membrane simulation tools, in which membrane performance in the form of boron rejection were converted to useful correlations that are then used in the optimization. A case study example involving three different seawater qualities, and correspondingly three different boron levels in each, was carried as a demonstration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-127
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014



  • Boron removal
  • Desalination
  • Process design
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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