Hitachi Metals has developed a ceramics adsorption filter (CAF) as a pre-treatment technology for the seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination process to minimise fouling of RO membranes.
Seawater desalination is one approach to ensure accessibility to clean water at an affordable price. Currently, most seawater desalination systems use RO membranes, but this method allows organic matter and other contaminants in the seawater to stick to the membrane surface, a phenomenon known as fouling. Fouling decreases productivity, increases energy use, compromises water quality and shortens membrane life.
A joint research study conducted by Hitachi Metals Ltd, Japan and the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore has shown that with the addition of CAF in the pre-treatment stage prior to the RO stage, the rate of RO fouling was slower, reducing the frequency of membrane cleaning.
The findings show that the amount of biofilm attached on the RO membrane is significantly reduced which is expected to reduce water production cost. Hitachi Metals will accelerate efforts toward commercial applications and will expand the business in Singapore.