This chapter presents the exploration of the combined process of wastewater reclamation and seawater dilution using forward osmosis (FO). Wastewater and seawater are the two most abundant water sources that are free of the hydrological cycle and could serve as an alternative potable water source. Forward osmosis was chosen as the an ideal pre-treatment step to dilute seawater prior to desalination at relatively lower energy demand and low fouling propensity. Membrane fouling behavior was studied and investigated using different feed compositions bearing fractions of effluent organic matter (EfOM). The negative surface charge of all organic foulants was reduced by the adsorption of calcium ions. Filtration of feed streams containing single, simple organic foulants revealed that alginate (polysaccharides) and bovine serum albumin (BSA) resulted in significant loss in process performance as a result of permeate flux reduction. The complex mixture of alginate, BSA and humic acid caused severe loss in membrane performance due to dominant favorable synergistic interactions between foulants and between foulants and membrane surface. The forward osmosis process presents a viable alternative for a simple and effective seawater dilution step using wastewater as the feed solution. Process performance can be improved by selecting a foulant resistant membrane with matching flux.
Part of the book: Osmotically Driven Membrane Processes