A Short Review of Membrane Fouling in Forward Osmosis Processes
Current strategies to control biofouling in nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membrane systems such as chemical cleaning and use of low fouling membranes are not always successful. Based on recent studies, an alternative approach is derived, combining a lower linear flow velocity in lead modules and adapted designs for feed spacer with an advanced cleaning strategy. This approach can be realized by small adaptations in current plant design. A lower linear flow velocity in lead spiral wound membrane modules results in (i) lower energy use, (ii) lower impact of biomass on the feed channel pressure drop, and (iii) more fluffy biofilm that may be easier to remove from the lead membrane modules, especially when adapted feed spacers combined with a reversed enhanced flush are applied. This rational scenario can result in effective biofouling control at low energy requirements, minimal chemical use and minimal cost.