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Review of membrane fouling in desalination plants

The use of membrane filtration, especially high-pressure, polymer-based reverse osmosis, has grown steadily since the first major desalination installations began operation in the 1960s.

Fouling development is one of the principal issues that inhibit the use of membrane systems.

This project was initiated by The WateReuse Association to summarise the current state of research activity in the field of fouling understanding and control. The project focuses on the most common areas of biological, organic, and inorganic causes and offers new ideas that can lead to technologies that ultimately may be used in full-scale installations.

This project was organized into three tasks. The first task involved two activities: conducting a literature review on membrane fouling and surveying industry users and researchers about their current research activities.

This work led to the development (“visualisation”) of initial categories for research projects.

The second task was to convene a workshop consisting of project participants and selected experts in the membrane fouling field to review the identified information from Task One and to refine and/or develop the visualised future membrane fouling research activities.

The third task was to evaluate the gathered data and prepare this final report.

This report describes the 27 research project topics that were developed.

For each topic the report describes the topic, objective, probable tasks that could be followed, the rationale for doing the project, and what overall benefit would be gained by completing the research.

The information is substantively complete and immediately available for use by research agencies to finalise the project scope and release for funding proposals.

The report State-of-the-Science Review of Membrane Fouling: Organic, Inorganic, and Biological is available for purchase (US$45 for non members of The WateReuse Association).

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