AFM in SWRO plants

 

Use of AFM in SWRO plants –

SWRO – Sea water reverse osmosis has found a great importance today as a technology for the reclamation of brackish water or sea water and making it potable enough for human consumption or industrial applications.

The most common schematics of a SWRO consists of a pre-filtration after a grit removal by a MGF/MMF followed by a disc filter and further to UF & RO. Sea water in most of the cases of has a large contamination of organics, bromine & other heavy metals. The most common biocide preferred for the use as a pretreatment for disinfection and sanitation to a SWRO is chlorine.

Chlorine in presence of organics, bromine & other heavy metal forms several chlorinated & disinfection byproducts including bromates which are no desirable in the SWRO plants. There are several instances which are brought to notice with contamination of the membranes in RO due to DBP’s & bromates.

UF and RO membranes work best when the membranes are new and clean. Fouling of the membranes by inorganic and organic contaminants as well as biofouling are some of the main issues effecting the performance and cost of running membrane water filtration systems.

 

AFM As A Media Instead Of Sand –

  • Would remove organics & heavy metal from water.
  • Reduce the SDI in the membrane.
  • Increase the life span of the RO & UF membranes.
  • Reduced downtime of membrane maintenance.
  • Prevents biofouling and contamination in the membrane.
  •  Reduce load on the RO & UF by removing micron & submicron size particles.

 

Performance comparison of AFM  with sand and UF

AFM Sand UF at 0.03 microns
Remove dissolved silica Yes Can add free silica to water No
Remove phosphate Yes, when combined with NoPhos no No
Remove dissolved organics Yes, especially when combined with APF precoagulation and flocculation using ZPM After 6 months sand filters will be increasing organic load through autotrophic bacteria No, UF cannot remove chemicals in solution.
Biofouling No,  AFM does not biofoul Yes, 100% coverage of every grain of sand in 3 days Yes, membranes need to be regularly cleaned
Prevention of RO membrane biofouling Yes, because it removes phosphate and dissolved nutrients required by bacteria No, sand is the perfect substrate to grow bacteria. Often solids load is higher on discharge than influent. Phosphate, and dissolved nutrients will react the RO membranes
Scaling No Yes, with carbonates, calcite, struvite, ferric etc Yes, with carbonates, calcite, struvite, ferric etc
Chlorination Not required, AFM does not biofoul. So no chlorine reaction products such as THM`s, TCA, or hydrobromous acid Yes, sand filters need to be chlorinated continuously or as part of a regular cleaning schedule. May be required as part of the cleaning schedule
Filtration level 90% down to 0.1micron,  approx. 80% down to 0.01micron All sand filters will channel, so membranes are exposed to unfiltered water. 0.03 to 0.01 microns absolute, unless the membrane ruptures
Sustainable 100% sustainable, Circular Economy VIBES winner in the UK No sustainable, needs to be replaced at 1 to 10 year intervals Not sustainable, membranes need to be replaced at 1 to 10 year intervals
Operation costs Can operate at 50% higher flow rates, so much lower capital cost than sand filtration Lower capital cost than AFM and  higher running, operation & maintenance costs Much higher capital cost than AFM. Much higher pressures and running costs. Lower area required for installation

 

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Other AFM Application Areas

AFM as in potable water treatment
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AFM as pre-treatment to RO, DM & EDI plants

UF, RO membranes  & DM plant resins work best when they are new and clean. Fouling of the membranes by inorganic and organic contaminants as well as biofouling are some of the main issues effecting the performance and cost of running  water treatment systems.Read More…

AFM for Arsenic Removal

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Iron and manganese are often found in borehole / tube wells and ground water at varying concentrations depending upon the geology of the ground. Read More…

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