Treatment Of Brackish Water Inland Desalination Brine

Tech ID: 33282 / UC Case 2023-972-0

Full Description


Reverse osmosis (RO) membrane desalination of brackish groundwater is employed to generate freshwater. 15% to 60% of the feed water becomes the RO concentrate waste, known as brine. However, the management of a RO concentrate stream remains challenging due to high costs and adverse environmenal impacts, especially in inland regions. In order to minimize the inland brine management cost and the negative environmental effects, additional water recovery from brine is needed. The major limitation to achieving high water recovery from the brine is mineral scaling by sparingly soluble salts on the membrane surface.


Prof. Haizhou Liu and his team have developed an inland desalination brine treatment technology that uses:

  • an ultraviolet-driven persulfate oxidation process (UV/PS) to degrade the anti-scalant;
  • a chemical demineralization (CDM) step to remove the scaling components; and,
  • a microfiltration (MF) to separate scaling minerals from the treated brine. 
Normalized permeate flux decline as a function of cumulative normalized volume throughput.

Normalized permeate flux decline as a function of cumulative normalized volume throughput. The brine without the UV/PS pre-treatment has a severe decline in permeate flux due to fouling.

Calcite saturation index 

Calcite saturation index revealing the pre-treatment with anti-scalant significantly increases the freshwater recovery.


The significant benefits of this technology are:

  • Increase in freshwater yield.
  • Less frequent membrane backwashing and replacement.
  • Reduced operation cost.
  • Reduced energy consumption.
  • Addition of an anti-scalant to the UV/PS-CDM-MF treated brine prior to a second RO step significantly increases the freshwater recovery (~85%). 

Suggested uses

In water desalination for brine treatment to increase water recovery.

Inventor Information

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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Other Information


desalination, brine, freshwater, photolysis, anti-scalant, mineral recovery

Categorized As