2015 Willem Koerselman Award to Cornelissen and Roest

Survey of Forward Osmosis most cited

Emile Cornelissen and Kees Roest won the 2015 Willem Koerselman Award for their article ‘Forward osmosis for application in wastewater treatment: A review’, which appeared in Water Research in 2014. The primary author, Kerusha Lutchmiah, was a doctoral candidate at the time at TU Delft and conducted research at KWR on Sewer Mining: decentralised ‘harvesting’ of high-quality industry water from sewage water or other wastewater streams. She was supervised by KWR’s Roest and Cornelissen. At the time the award was presented, the review article had been cited 53 times.

Most cited in 2015

KWR gives the annual Willem Koerselman Award to its researcher(s) whose peer-reviewed article was most cited over the preceding year Following tradition, the researchers this year were handed the award from their former colleague Willem Koerselman, after whom it is named.

Survey of Forward Osmosis applications in wastewater treatment

The winning article in 2015 is an overview story of the application of Forward Osmosis (FO) in wastewater treatment. ‘This article originated in the Sewer Mining project,’ says Cornelissen. ‘Using FO one can produce clean water, but also potentially energy, from wastewater and/or seawater. FO is powered by a concentration differential over a thick membrane. It involves no energy use. An osmotic solution – for example, a salt or sugar solution – draws clean water from a polluted source like wastewater, which is separated by an FO membrane. FO research has taken off over the last few years, as can be seen from the enormous increase in publications, which currently number more than 1,200.’

Extensive description of FO, with advantages and disadvantages

The article describes the advantages and disadvantages of FO and provides an overview of important elements of the process, such as: (i) available R&D and commercial FO membranes, (ii) currently applied and new osmotic solutions, (iii) common process conditions, (iv) effects of membrane fouling and (v) FO applications with wastewater. ‘Large-scale application of FO is being held back by the inefficiency of FO membranes and the leakage of the osmotic solution to the feed side,’ says Roest. ‘Nonetheless, the first small-scale practical uses of FO have already been implemented in niche applications.’ For Cornelissen ‘this story had a great impact because it is the first review article to focus specifically on FO in wastewater treatment. In the top-10 of the most cited review articles about FO, it is in seventh position.’

Willem Koerselmanprijs 2015 naar Cornelissen en Roest

From left to right: Kees Roest, Kerusha Lutchmiah, Emile Cornelissen and Willem Koerselman.