Growth on membranes is one of the many mechanisms of membrane fouling. This fouling causes operational problems, negative environmental impacts and a decrease in product quality. The feed water is taken from various sources, such as groundwater, surface water, wastewater and seawater. High-pressure membrane filtration is capable, in a single step, of removing particles and organic micro-pollutants from the feed water, while also disinfecting, softening and desalinating it.
One can manage membrane fouling and damage through the optimisation of pre-treatment processes, a better design of membrane installations, an optimal membrane selection and regular membrane cleaning. Drawing on 20 years’ experience with membrane fouling, KWR developed the Clean Membrane tool, which can identify the type of fouling or damage occurring in a membrane installation. Based on this diagnosis, the tool also provides an indication as to how the problem can be managed. This can contribute to a more stable operational management of the installation. Clean Membrane is part of the Watershare Suite of tools.
Determining the right curative and preventive strategy
The Clean Membrane tool identifies the type and severity of membrane fouling, the damage to membranes and how these problems can be brought under control. It does this based on the operational conditions of the membrane installation. The results enable water companies to determine the right curative and preventive strategies.
Complementary research, based on the tool’s results, can be carried out after the tool is tested onsite. In some cases, a subsequent closer inspection of the membrane may be required before recommendations can be made.
Clean Membrane benefits:
- Insight into the type and severity of membrane fouling and damage, including an optimal strategy to manage and combat them.
- Stable operational management of membrane installations.
AiRO: example of sustainable and cost-effective membrane filtration
The Clean Membrane tool makes membrane fouling manageable through robust pre-treatment, for instance. The particles that cause fouling are caught before they can reach the water.
Another membrane-related subject is AiRO. This is a KWR-developed air/water treatment technology, which periodically declogs membranes to prevent the occurrence of extreme fouling. An AiRO installation was brought into operation for the first time in 2010 by Evides Industriewater, an important industrial water partner in the Benelux. As a result, the Evides plant cut its consumption of energy by 10% and of chemicals by 95%: a sustainable and cost-effective solution.