Operational strategies for brackish water desalination plants in island regions of South Korea

Kyoung Hoon Chu, Byoung Geun Oh, Seungho Kook, Jeongho Ko, Jihun Lim, Hyeong Kyu Kim, Kyu Jung Chae, Moon Hyun Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Based on the operational data from the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water), this study aimed to reduce the operation and maintenance (O&M) costs for 20 brackish water desalination plants in the island regions of South Korea. In addition, brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) and low-pressure reverse osmosis (LPRO) membranes were compared and evaluated in terms of reduction in specific energy consumption (SEC) for an island brackish water desalination plant. The high labor costs and plant breakdown accounted for most of the operating losses with low operation rates (less than 60% in 19 plants) and low water flow rates (less than 90% in 15 plants). Thus, in order to reduce the O&M costs of island region desalination plants, it was essential to optimize the plant design while increasing the operation and water flow rates. In particular, installation of the LPRO membrane has shown potential for SEC improvement (approximately 16%) due to high pressure pump optimization and high recovery. These operational strategies for island region desalination plants are applicable alternatives in terms of reduction in O&M costs and SEC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123540
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through Industrial Facilities & Infrastructure Research Program, funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) ( 146834 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Brackish water desalination
  • Operation and maintenance costs
  • Operational strategies
  • Real-scale plants in island regions
  • Specific energy consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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