An Osmotic Membrane Bioreactor-Membrane Distillation System for Simultaneous Wastewater Reuse and Seawater Desalination: Performance and Implications

Journal: Environmental Science and Technology

Published: 2017-11-14

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b02567

Affiliations: 6

Authors: 7

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Research Highlight

Cleansing wastewater with a pinch of salt

© jonathanfilskov-photography/Getty

© jonathanfilskov-photography/Getty

Wastewater could be decontaminated and reused thanks to a system that simultaneously desalinates seawater.

Water is often in limited supply, and although this essential resource can be extracted from wastewater and seawater, conventional filter systems can get blocked by organic matter and salt. A team including researchers from the University of Wollongong built a system that harnesses osmosis, whereby the high salt concentration of seawater on one side of a membrane draws just water through from liquid waste on the opposite side. The remaining waste falls to the bottom of the tank to be removed as sludge. To maintain the necessary salt concentrations, the seawater is heated and pure water is extracted as vapour. The whole process removed nearly all 30 of the undesirable bacteria that the researchers tested for.

This system could be used to recycle water on ships and to reduce pollution from wastewater in coastal areas.

Supported content

  1. Environmental Science & Technology 51, 14311−14320 (2017). doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b02567
Institutions Share
University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia 0.67
China Agricultural University (CAU), China 0.19
Yale University, United States of America (USA) 0.14