Analysis of an osmotically-enhanced dewatering process for the treatment of highly saline (waste)waters

Jungwon Kim, David Inhyuk Kim, Seungkwan Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The dewatering of highly saline (waste)waters by typical osmotic membranes, such as reverse osmosis (RO) or forward osmosis (FO), was significantly improved by a novel process in which an osmotic pressure gradient across the membrane is eliminated or reduced by increasing osmotic pressure in the permeate side. In this work, the concept of an osmotically enhanced dewatering (OED) process was fundamentally analyzed via conceptual modeling and verified experimentally under various hydraulic and osmotic pressure conditions. No or less osmotic gradient across the membrane resulted in higher water recovery than RO. Larger water flux was also produced than FO because the loss of osmotic driving force by internal concentration polarization (ICP) was greatly reduced. For instance, a series of experiments demonstrated that water flux of 1.2 LMH was obtained at low hydraulic pressure of 15 bar when a feed of 2.4 M NaCl was dewatered by the OED process. In addition, membrane characteristics (A, B, S) were optimized by modeling, and further examined experimentally using typical NF and FO membranes. Lastly, less reverse solute diffusion ensured a product of high quality after dewatering, suggesting that this process can be applied to not only highly saline shale gas produced water treatment, but also protein and pharmaceutical enrichment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-693
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA) grant funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Grant 17IFIP - B116952 - 02 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Forward osmosis (FO)
  • High water recovery
  • Osmotic pressure gradient
  • Osmotically-enhanced dewatering
  • Reverse osmosis (RO)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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