GMVP opened the SWRO-PRO pilot plant of recovering the salinity gradient energy

GMVP recently opened the SWRO-PRO pilot plant at Nambu wastewater treatment plant located in Korean port city of Busan. The pilot is used to demonstrate the technical feasibility of PRO (pressure retarded osmosis) to recover the salinity gradient energy.

GMVP is a research group developing scaling-up technologies of PRO and membrane distillation (MD) under financial sponsorship of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) and Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA). GS E&C designed, built and operated the SWRO-PRO pilot plant, while Toray Chemical Korea (TCK) developed the membrane and module (spiral wound type) for the PRO application. After operation for more than 1 year with the SWRO brine and permeate, GMVP has become confident about the technical feasibility of PRO and the pilot plant performance. They moved the pilot plant to the seaside wastewater treatment plant so as to have an access both to seawater and wastewater.

The pilot plant will be used to demonstrate the possibility of reducing the SWRO energy consumption (25%) through recovery of the salinity gradient energy between SWRO brine and MBR (membrane bioreactor) effluent. Prof. Seung-Hyun Kim (GMVP leader) said, “PRO is an eco-friendly technology. The hybrid of SWRO-PRO can reduce the energy consumption of seawater desalination. It can also eliminate the environmental concern of brine discharge into the ocean.”