Low pressure RO for boron elimination: impact of pH on the degree of rejection of boron and monovalent ions

Agashichev, Sergey; Osman, Elfadil
February 2016
Desalination & Water Treatment;Feb2016, Vol. 57 Issue 10, p4701
Academic Journal
Pilot data on the degree of rejection of boron, sodium and conductivity at different operating pH have been collected. The study is based on the analysis of the third stage of the RO pilot system for seawater desalination. The system was equipped by spiral element on a thin film composite polyamide membraneWoongjin Chemical RE4040-BE. The study covered the case when the target component (e.g. boron) was characterized by the lower value of concentration compared to the component (monovalent ions) that controls the level of salinity and ionic strength. It was shown that the degree of rejection of boron and the degree of rejection of conductivity remained almost pH invariant within the acid and neutral range of pH (at pH < 8.6), whereas it changed sharply within an alkaline domain. In particular the degree of boron rejection, being at the level ~30–33% at pH < 8.6 increased to 90%, and conductivity rejection revealed the opposite behavior: it decreased from 95 to 70%. It was shown that the transmembrane transport and rejection of monovalent ions, boric acid and deprotonated form of borate are closely conjugated. It was confirmed that the design of the process, analysis and modeling the rejection performance of boric acid and deprotonated borate must be coupled with quantitative estimation of the ions characterizing the level of ionic strength. It was revealed that the low-pressure RO membrane used in this study can be recommended for boron elimination at the stage of post-treatment in seawater desalination. Pilot data on the degree of observed rejection of boron, conductivity and monovalent ions vs. pH are attached.


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