Site-specific raw seawater quality impact study on SWRO process for optimizing operation of the pressurized step

Seung Joon Kim, Young Geun Lee, Kyung Hwa Cho, Young Mi Kim, Seokho Choi, In S. Kim, Dae Ryook Yang, Joon Ha Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


As a means of optimizing desalination processes, site-specificity in the determination of seawater quality conditions is a crucial point for improving the overall energy efficiency of a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) process. To this end, field studies were carried out at 16 sampling sites along the shoreline in South Korea to investigate the site-specific features of seawater quality. Also, two mathematical models were developed for the simulation of SWRO processes dependent on seawater quality in macroscopic and microscopic contexts, respectively. As a result, the microscopic dynamic model revealed that concentration polarization in the vicinity of the membrane surface and permeate concentration are affected by the feed seawater concentration and pressure. Then, the application of Fujairah SWRO plant operation data to the macroscopic simulation of a non-isobaric SWRO process model resulted in significant energy savings in terms of operational pressure savings, reducing 0.3 bar from the annual average value in the first pass operational pressure. These findings suggest that a cost-effective SWRO operation can be feasible using non-isobaric pressure controls by considering site-specific feed seawater concentrations. Results of the study presented here can be applied to improving the energy efficiency in SWRO plants through the optimization of pressurized systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-157
Number of pages18
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant (code# C106A1520001-06A085600210) from the Plant Technology Advancement Program funded by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation of the Korean Government.


  • Concentration polarization
  • Desalination
  • Model
  • Non-isobaric operation
  • Optimization
  • Reverse osmosis membrane
  • SWRO
  • Seawater
  • Site-specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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