Biofouling block could up membrane life tenfold
A new technology that starves microorganisms of vital nutrients could prevent biofouling in brackish and seawater RO pretreatment systems and extend membrane life tenfold according to its manufacturer BiAqua.The Netherlands-based start-up company has developed a phosphate adsorbent technology that it claims can reduce phosphate concentration to less the 1 part per billion. The heart of PRT technology is an adsorbent that can capture phosphate and store it until it is released during regeneration.
"Our portfolio includes a range of bio-based and inorganic adsorbents, with varying capacities, to address specific customer needs. We have shown that we are able to consistently remove over 95% of the phosphate from feedwater with levels ranging between 0.1 and 25 mg/l," said BiAqua's chief executive officer, Lute Broens.
The heart of BiAqua's phosphate removal technology (PRT) is an adsorbent that can capture phosphate and store it until it is released during regeneration. In addition to being used in conjunction with a membrane pretreatment system, the PRT process can be used in cooling water systems, surface water discharge or to prevent reservoir souring in the oil and gas industry.
BiAqua's research and developement manager, Monica Paravidino, said, "Pilot-scale studies have confirmed that with phosphate limitation using BiAqua adsorbent materials, the membrane lifetime could be extended at least ten times compared to the use of biologically activated carbon filters as membrane pretreatment."
She added: "As a consequence, there are less frequent membrane cleanings, lower energy and chemical consumption, reduced labor costs and less downtime. The overall reduction of treatment plant operating expenditure is resulting in a typical payback of two years."
BiAqua has developed a standard line of pre-engineered PadEx phosphate adsorber exchange systems for capacities of 2.5 to 32.0 m³/hr (11-140 gpm), and existing granular media filter systems can be retrofit to operate with PRT.