Towards a water-wise world Annual report 2014

Author(s): Lutchmiah, K., Verliefde, A.R.D., Roest, K., Rietveld, L.C., & Cornelissen, E.R. 

Forward osmosis for application in wastewater treatment: A review

1 July 2014Peer review


Research in the field of Forward Osmosis (FO) membrane technology has grown significantly over the last 10 years, but its application in the scope of wastewater treatment has been slower. Drinking water is becoming an increasingly marginal resource. Substituting drinking water for alternate water sources, specifically for use in industrial processes, may alleviate the global water stress. FO has the potential to sustainably treat wastewater sources and produce high quality water. FO relies on the osmotic pressure difference across the membrane to extract clean water from the feed, however the FO step is still mostly perceived as a “pre-treatment” process. To prompt FO-wastewater feasibility, the focus lies with new membrane developments, draw solutions to enhance wastewater treatment and energy recovery, and operating conditions. Optimisation of these parameters are essential to mitigate fouling, decrease concentration polarisation and increase FO performance; issues all closely related to one another. This review attempts to define the steps still required for FO to reach full-scale potential in wastewater treatment and water reclamation by discussing current novelties, bottlenecks and future perspectives of FO technology in the wastewater sector.

In: Water Research 58(2014) p. 179-197

© 2018 KWR Watercycle Research Institute