Application of fouling index for forward osmosis hybrid system: A pilot demonstration

Min Zhan, Youngjin Kim, Jihun Lim, Seungkwan Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


An osmotic dilution process of hybrid forward osmosis (FO) and reverse osmosis (RO) was applied at pilot-scale to integrate wastewater treatment with seawater desalination in a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The aim of this study is to expand the understanding of multiple FO fouling indexes (i.e., MFI-UF and ORI) to not only obtain insight on fouling characteristics of the FO process but also optimize the operation of the osmotic dilution process. The correlation between the fouling indexes and performance of the FO membrane (i.e., transmembrane inlet pressure (TMIP), differential pressure (DP)) was first validated based on the operation data from the seven-month pilot run. MFI-UF was then selected for measuring the fouling potential according to the pretreatment process (or source water), whereas ORI was obtained for optimizing the cleaning protocol of the FO process to support the stable operation of the FO plant. The sensitivity analysis of the seasonal effect verified the correlation between MFI-UF and FO performance. The results of this study are expected to provide practical insight and technical guidelines to FO based plant engineers/operators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118624
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 1


  • FO-RO osmotic Dilution process
  • Forward osmosis
  • Fouling reversibility
  • Long-term pilot-scale study
  • Modified fouling index
  • Osmotically-driven reversibility index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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