Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) for integrating seawater desalination and wastewater reclamation: Energy consumption and fouling

David Inhyuk Kim, Jungwon Kim, Ho Kyong Shon, Seungkwan Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


A hybrid process of pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) and reverse osmosis (RO) has a great potential for successfully integrating wastewater reclamation with seawater desalination, which can achieve several operational goals simultaneously including augmenting water resources, providing multiple barriers for wastewater purification, seawater dilution for lowering energy use as well as capital cost, osmotic power generation, and less environmental impact. The low energy use of a PRO-RO process was demonstrated by assessing specific energy consumption (SEC). However, a substantial flux decline was observed owing to the susceptibility of PRO to membrane fouling. Particularly, inorganic fouling was pronounced within the support layer, which was hardly reversible by hydrodynamic methods such as physical flushing and osmotic backwashing. Lastly, the anti-scaling pretreatment was shown to be very effective for lessening inorganic scaling within the support layer, suggesting that a PRO-RO hybrid process could be successfully applied with optimized fouling control strategies in PRO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Fundamental R&D Program for Technology of World Premier Materials funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Korea (10037715) and from Plant Research Program funded by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) of Korea government and Korea agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA) (14IFIP-B087385-01).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V..

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Energy consumption
  • Membrane fouling
  • PRO-RO hybrid process
  • Seawater desalination
  • Wastewater reclamation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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