WRF funds American Water to research desalination pretreatment

New methodologies for optimizing pretreatment processes for reverse osmosis (RO) desalination are to be researched by American Water Works Company Inc, the largest investor-owned US water and wastewater utility company, under a grant from the Water Research Foundation.

The project is valued at US$ 490,000, and portions of the research will be conducted in conjunction with the United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization – Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE) in the Netherlands.

“This research project will use novel methods to measure organic carbon in seawater that can cause plugging of the RO membranes,” said Dr Orren Schneider, senior environmental engineer for American Water and principle investigator for this project. “The study will also use advanced techniques to measure the surface charge of particles in seawater. Neutralization of this surface charge is important for particle and organic-carbon removal in the pretreatment process.”