Simulations of full-scale reverse osmosis membrane process

Lianfa Song, Seungkwan Hong, J. Y. Hu, S. L. Ong, W. J. Ng

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Performance of a two-stage full-scale reverse osmosis (RO) process for a desalination plant in Florida was simulated with a mathematical model based on the principles of membrane transport and mass conservation. In this model, water flux at any point along the filtration channel is calculated locally according to the basic transport theory of RO membranes. The changes in cross-flow velocity and salt concentration along the filtration channel were determined using mass balance principles of water and salt. Simulations of the plant performance were compared with the in-plant observation data over a period of more than 300 days. The results showed that the model could adequately describe the performance of the full-scale RO process based on a few module and operating parameters. The study also revealed that salt rejection of a RO membrane changed with feed salt concentration. The osmotic pressure coefficient that fits best with performance of this plant was substantially lower than the value determined with the "rule of thumb" (i.e., osmotic pressure in psi≈0.01 X total dissolved solids in mg/L) and had to be determined specifically for the particular feed water being processed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-966
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Desalination
  • Membranes
  • Simulation
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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