Increasing demand for existing freshwater resources among a variety of beneficial uses (i.e., municipal, agricultural, industrial, and environmental) is straining available supplies to an unprecedented degree. The competition for these supplies has been intensified by the protracted droughts that have afflicted the desert Southwest, California, Texas, Colorado, and other areas of the country in recent years. Consequently, the use of alternative, lower quality sources, such as brackish groundwater, saline surface water, and recycled wastewater (i.e., for both potable and non-potable reuse) are rapidly becoming an integral component of long-term portfolio planning, and nearly all of these alternative supplies require desalination. The resulting demand for nanofiltration (NF) / reverse osmosis (RO) has sparked a renaissance of membrane desalination, with more facilities being implemented than ever before. Moreover, with increased economic incentive, the industry is benefitting from an infusion of both financial and intellectual capital invested in NF/RO systems, yielding numerous innovations designed to improve performance and reduce cost. Among these innovations, enhancing system recovery has become the most prominent, with numerous proprietary technologies and processes being developed both in response to a growing, receptive market and a relative vacuum of historical options. Notably, these enhanced recovery solutions address two critical issues in the modern landscape of alternative water supplies, both of which are related to concentrate minimization: 1) the need to extract as much usable water as possible from available sources; and 2) enabling residuals management strategies that hinge on volume reduction for either economic feasibility or regulatory compliance. Recognizing the increasing importance of enhanced NF/RO recovery and the commensurate proliferation of innovative solutions, the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) conducted a workshop dedicated to showcasing the some of the most prominent alternatives on October 30-31, 2019 in Albuquerque, NM. The objective of this workshop was to provide attendees with firsthand information about an array of the most viable options, as well as an opportunity to directly compare the proprietary offerings and discuss them in a group setting to foster the exchange of ideas. The purpose of the presentation at the Membrane Technology Conference (MTC) pertaining to the Albuquerque event, briefly summarized in this associated paper, is to synthesize the content of this unique workshop, providing an overview of each solution and discussing the relative benefits, limitations, ideal applications, energy requirements, and costs, as applicable and available. The information compiled in the presentation is intended be a significant reference that is not available from any other source, leveraging the value of the workshop for the benefit of MTC attendees and the broader industry.
This presentation is available to AMTA Members only.
- Brent Alspach
- AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference, West Palm Beach, FL
- AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference
- NF/RO, Enhanced Recovery