Reverse Osmosis

Our group has been interested in new configurations of reverse osmosis (RO) that can raise raise energy efficiency or reduce fouling. We have considered multi-stage RO, counterflow RO, batch RO designs, finding significant opportunities to lower energy consumption. We have also been interested in the potential for new membrane technologies to influence system-level energy consumption, either directly or by reducing fouling rates. Our group was the first to point out (2013, 2014) that high permeability membranes are unlikely to save large amounts of energy in SWRO.

Selected Papers on Reverse Osmosis

Y. Roy and J.H. Lienhard V, “On the presence of solute-solvent coupling in reverse osmosis,” J. Membrane Sci., online 20 June 2020, 611:118272, 1 October 2020. (doi link) (free reprints)

Q.J. Wei, C.I. Tucker, P.J. Wu, A. Trueworthy, E.W. Tow, and J.H. Lienhard V, “Impact of salt retention on true batch reverse osmosis energy consumption: experiments and model validation,” Desalination, online 3 February 2020, 479:114177, 1 April 2020. (doi link) (free reprints) (preprint)

Batch RO system with bladder at beginning of permeate production phase

Batch RO system with bladder at beginning of permeate production phase (Wei et al., 2020)

J. Swaminathan, E.W. Tow, R.L. Stover, and J.H. Lienhard V, “Practical aspects of design of batch reverse osmosis for energy efficient seawater desalination,” Desalination, online 21 August 2019, 470:114097, 15 November 2019. (doi link) (preprint)

Y. Okamoto and J.H. Lienhard V, “How RO membrane permeability and other performance factors affect process cost and energy use: A review,” Desalination, online 21 August 2019, 470:114064, 15 November 2019. (doi link) (preprint)

A.T. Bouma and J.H. Lienhard V, “Split-feed counterflow reverse osmosis for brine concentration,” Desalination, online 27 August 2018, 445:280-291, 1 November 2018. (doi link) (preprint)

D.M. Warsinger, E.W. Tow, L.A. Maswadeh, G. Connors, J. Swaminathan, and J.H. Lienhard V, “Inorganic fouling mitigation by salinity cycling in batch reverse osmosis,” Water Research, online 5 Feb. 2018, 137:384-394, 15 June 2018. (doi link) (preprint)

Q.J. Wei, R.K. McGovern, and J.H. Lienhard V, “Saving energy with an optimized two-stage reverse osmosis system,” Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, online 05 June 2017, 3(4):659-670, July 2017. (doi link) (preprint) (Inside Front Cover)

R.K. McGovern and J.H. Lienhard V, “On the asymptotic flux of ultrapermeable seawater
reverse osmosis membranes due to concentration polarisation,” J. Membrane Sci., online 20 August 2016, 520:560-565, 15 December 2016. (doi link) (preprint)
Mass transfer strongly limits flux gains achievable by high permeability membranes.

D.M. Warsinger, E.W. Tow, K.G. Nayar, L.A. Maswadeh, and J.H. Lienhard V, “Energy Efficiency of Batch and Semi-batch (CCRO) Reverse Osmosis Desalination,” Water Research, online 25 Sept. 2016, 106:272-282, 1 Dec. 2016. (doi link) (preprint)

W. Rohlfs, G.P. Thiel, and J.H. Lienhard V, “Modeling reverse osmosis element design using superposition and an analogy to convective heat transfer,” J. Membrane Sci., 512:38-49, 15 August 2016. (doi link) (preprint)

L.D. Banchik, M.H. Sharqawy, and J.H. Lienhard V, “Effectiveness-Mass Transfer Units (ε–MTU) Model of a Reverse Osmosis Membrane Mass Exchanger,” J. Membrane Science, 458:189-198, 15 May 2014. (doi link) (preprint)

D. Cohen-Tanugi, R.K. McGovern, S. Dave, J.H. Lienhard V, and J.C. Grossman, “Quantifying the Potential of Ultra-permeable Membranes for Water Desalination,” Energy Environ. Sci., 7(3):1134-1141, Feb. 2014. (doi link) (preprint)
High permeability membranes will not save much energy in SWRO.