UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering have developed a novel UF-RO system.
Ultrafiltration (UF) is the process of membrane-based removal of particles. It is used in a number of different industries such as food production, water treatment, desalination etc. In particular, in water treatment plants it is used as the first step before further treatment by reverse-osmosis (RO). The main drawback of current UF-RO plants are the need for backwashing at fixed intervals to clean the UF membrane and a separate tank to be used for backwashing. Together these issues add to recurrent maintenance costs.
UCLA researchers have developed a novel UF-RO system that overcomes the drawbacks of current systems. They have developed an integrated UF-RO system that is self-adaptive. The UF membrane is continuously monitored for resistance and backwashing is automatically initiated upon reaching a threshold. The system uses the RO permeate and does not require a separate storage unit reducing operational and maintenance costs. In a field test for desalination the system improved the membrane performance from 16 to 143 days.
Prototype developed and extensively tested in a field study
Reverse osmosis, Desalination, Seawater desalination, Ultrafiltration, Process control, Pulse backwash, RO concentrate backwash, UF–RO integration, Real-time monitor, Membrane resistance, Self-adaptive, Backwash control, Continuous backwash