A fouling model for simulating long-term performance of SWRO desalination process

Young Geun Lee, Yun Seok Lee, Do Yeon Kim, Minkyu Park, Dae Ryook Yang, Joon Ha Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


A fouling model for the seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) process is required to propose an appropriate strategy for membrane maintenance (i.e., membrane cleaning and replacement). In this study, a fouling model that considered the concentration polarization was properly developed to simulate the long-term performance of the SWRO process based on models from the literature. The model was practically applied to one-year operation data obtained from the Fujairah SWRO desalination plant with parameter estimation, and good agreement between the measured data and simulated results was obtained for both the rejection and recovery rates. Compared to an integrated model consisting of two models from the literature, the fouling model proposed in this study showed reliable performance for membrane fouling such as the increase in the permeate TDS concentration according to operating time. In addition, simulations for membrane maintenance were conducted based on the variation in membrane resistance, which reflects the fouling state of the membrane. These revealed that the rearrangement of membranes is not significantly effective without cleaning the fouled membrane. Instead, a partial replacement of membranes can be an effective maintenance scheme to increase the recovery rate. Accordingly, the results of the study presented here can be used to save operation and maintenance (O&M) costs in SWRO plants through the optimized management of fouled membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-291
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant ( 07seaheroB02-01 ) from the Plant Technology Advancement Program funded by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Korean government . In addition, we would like to thank Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction for assisting our study by providing experimental data from the Fujairah plant in Dubai.


  • Cleaning
  • Concentration polarization
  • Fouling model
  • Membrane maintenance
  • Membrane resistance
  • O&M
  • Replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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