Towards a water-wise world Annual report 2014

Yusuf Wibisono Doctorate 

Membrane fouling control using air/water cleaning (AiRO)

11 September 2014BTO Research

Yusuf Wibisono successfully defends his thesis at the University of Twente (UT) on the use of two-phase flow – specifically, air and water – to control fouling of (spiral-wound) nanofiltration and reverse osmosis (RO) membranes (AiRO research). The research is a collaboration between the Dutch water sector’s joint research programme (BTO), the University of Twente (UT), Wetsus and KWR, and contributes to savings in energy and chemical use in drinking water treatment.

Clogging caused by particle fouling and/or biofouling in membrane elements can be controlled through periodic air/water cleaning. The use of periodic two-phase flow reduces the need for chemical cleaning and the operation of the membrane remains stable for a longer period. Although previous studies had already demonstrated the effectiveness of two-phase flow, a number of questions remained about the precise mechanism involved. To answer these, a literature search was conducted and laboratory (UT) and pilot research (KWR) carried out.

Over the past four years, Evides Industriewater has operated a full-scale membrane installation for the production of demineralised water for the Botlek port area of Rotterdam. The operation has generated energy savings of 25% and chemical savings of 80%. Research is currently being conducted on the possibilities of using two-phase flow in spiral-wound membrane installations in international markets and for other types of water, such as used water.

Researchers with the full-scale membrane installation of Evides Industriewater.

Researchers with the full-scale membrane installation of Evides Industriewater.

© 2018 KWR Watercycle Research Institute

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Research programme
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Scientific publications
Two-phase flow in membrane processes: A technology with a future