Membranes and renewable energy — a new era of sustainable development for developing countries

01 November 2010

This article outlines the combination of a small scale hybrid ultrafiltration and nanofiltration/reverse osmosis system with solar energy. The system is targeted to remote communities with access to either contaminated surface or brackish water. The treatment accomplishes dual barrier disinfection, desalination, and removal of trace contaminants such as arsenic. Investigation of the system is carried out for a variable power source that leads to fluctuations in feed flow and recovery. Those variations may affect water quality and fouling and to ensure satisfactory performance in locations far from qualified maintenance personnel this information needs to be integrated into process design and operation procedures. The system exhibits a very low specific energy consumption and is able to desalinate brackish water to drinking water guidelines. Trace contaminant removal is under investigation and results are not presented in this paper.