Biofouling of membrane systems for drinking water production: diagnosis, prediction and prevention

Date, Time and Location: Monday 9th of July, 4-5pm, Main Auditorium, Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC), 26 Dick Perry Ave, Kensington WA 6151


Lecture Details:

High quality drinking water can be produced with membrane filtration processes like reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF). As the global demand for fresh clean water is increasing, these membrane technologies are increasingly important.

One of the most serious problems in RO/NF applications is biofouling – excessive growth of biomass – affecting the performance of RO/NF systems. This can be due to the increase in pressure drop across membrane elements, the decrease in membrane permeability or increase in salt passage. These phenomena result in the need to increase the feed pressure to maintain constant production and to clean the membranes chemically.

The presentation contains (i) an overview of new tools to monitor and characterize biofouling: fouling simulator development, sensitive pressure drop measurements, MRI and imaging and three-dimensional numerical modelling to simulate biofouling, and (ii) new insights derived with these tools, pilot and full-scale RO/NF installation studies, and (iii) new potential biofouling control strategies.


About Speaker

Professor Johannes Vrouwenvelder is the Director of the Water Desalination and Reuse Center, Environmental Science and Engineering, at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.  He studies microbiological and process technological aspects of water treatment and transport. This includes fouling control of membrane systems and cooling towers, and sensors and tools for biofouling/biofilm monitoring and rapid sensitive microbial water quality monitoring. Additionally, Professor Vrouwenvelder performs numerical modelling of fouling and water treatment system performance, and studies the dynamics of the microbial ecology of water distribution systems.

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