A novel low energy fertilizer driven forward osmosis desalination for direct fertigation: Evaluating the performance of fertilizer draw solutions

Sherub Phuntsho, Ho Kyong Shon, Seungkwan Hong, Sangyoup Lee, Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

396 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Forward osmosis (FO) is a novel and emerging low energy technology for desalination. It will be particularly more attractive, if the draw solution separation and recovery are not necessary after FO process. The application of this new concept is briefly described here in this paper for the desalination of saline water for irrigation, using fertilizer as a draw agent. Instead of separating the draw solution from desalinated water, the diluted fertilizer draw solution can be directly applied for fertigation. We report the results on the commonly used chemical fertilizers as FO draw solution. Based on the currently available FO technology, about nine different commonly used fertilizers were finally screened from a comprehensive list of fertilizers and, their performances were assessed in terms of pure water flux and reverse draw solute flux. These results indicate that, most soluble fertilizers can generate osmotic potential much higher than the sea water. The draw solutions of KCl, NaNO3 and KNO3 performed best in terms of water flux while NH4H2PO4, (NH4)2HPO4, Ca(NO3)2 and (NH4)2SO4 had the lowest reverse solute flux. Initial estimation indicates that, 1kg of fertilizer can extract water ranging from 11 to 29L from sea water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-181
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Volume375
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by National Centre for Excellence in Desalination (NCED). This research was also supported by World Class University (WCU) program (Case III) through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R33-10046). The authors appreciate Hydration Technologies Inc. for their kind support through the supply of FO membranes used in this study.

Keywords

  • Desalination
  • Draw solution
  • Fertigation
  • Fertilizer
  • Forward osmosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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