Revista Mexicana de Ingeniería Química, Vol. 22, No. 3 (2023), Proc2349

Determination of the concentration polarization in a reverse osmosis plant to desalinate sea water

G.E. Dévora-Isiordia, Y.Villegas-Peralta, H.A. Piña-Martinez, R.G. Sánchez-Duarte, J. Álvarez-Sánchez



Water scarcity in the world is a real and latent problem. Reverse osmosis (RO) desalination processes are a widely used technology to reduce this problem. However, one limitation is the concentration polarization (CP), which represents the accumulation of salts on the active surface of the membrane. The physical measurement of this variable is complicated and expensive, due to the accessories and calculation implements for its determination. To determine the PC, in this study experimental tests were carried out in a reverse osmosis plant in a range of pressures from 1 to 6 MPa and permeate flux from 0.75 to 3.5 L min-1, using brackish water (13,335 mg L-1) and seawater (35,522 mg L-1). A mathematical model was obtained for each established concentration, resulting in a fourth and second order polynomial model for brackish and seawater, respectively. A descriptive statistical analysis was applied to the results of these models to compare the similarity of the theoretical-experimental data and the reliability of the model. The models obtained will be of great help in decision making involving CP and its inherent variables.

Keywords: desalination, scaling, sea water, concentration polarization, water scarcity.