Improving energy efficiency of pretreatment for seawater desalination during algal blooms using a novel meshed tube filtration process

Gyuhyon Cha, Soohoon Choi, Hyunkyung Lee, Kwangse Kim, Sangjun Ahn, Seungkwan Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


A new meshed tube filtration (MTF) process was developed and assessed as a low energy-consuming pretreatment process that withstands algal blooms (i.e., red tide). This process can potentially replace the dissolved air flotation (DAF) process in typical seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants. Two marine microalgae species, namely C. polykrikoides and T. suecica, were first cultivated and then utilized to simulate algal bloom conditions in the lab-scale filtration experiments. The algal matter was coagulated and circulated by aeration in the MTF system that was filled with cylindrical polypropylene meshed tubes with ciliary ends and had the ability to capture coagulated algae in an effective manner. The efficiency of the MTF process to remove algal cells was significantly enhanced by optimizing the coagulant dose and the aeration rate. In order to further verify the MTF performance, DAF experiments were conducted, under similar conditions, for the comparison of algal removal effectiveness and energy consumption rates. The results showed high removal rates of algal cells as well as turbidity for MTF, although only a limited reduction of algal organic matter (AOM) was observed. When DAF was operated at energy consumption levels equivalent to MTF, its algae removal rate was lower than that of MTF. Furthermore, under optimal operating conditions, MTF consumed approximately one-third of the energy needed for DAF operation, mainly due to the fact that MTF requires less aeration. For future improvements in the AOM removal process, an energy-efficient pretreatment process could be realized for SWRO desalination facilities facing potential algal blooms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114477
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 15

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Algal bloom control
  • Dissolved air flotation (DAF)
  • Low energy consumption
  • Meshed tube filtration (MTF)
  • Pretreatment for seawater desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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