Problems in seawater industrial desalination processes and potential sustainable solutions: a review

  • S. Liyanaarachchi
  • L. Shu
  • S. Muthukumaran
  • V. Jegatheesan
  • K. Baskaran


Seawater desalination has significantly developed towards membrane technology than phase change process during last decade. Seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) in general is the most familiar process due to higher water recovery and lower energy consumption compared to other available desalination processes. Despite major advancements in SWRO technology, desalination industry is still facing significant amount of practical issues. Therefore, the potentials and problems faced by current SWRO industries and essential study areas are discussed in this review for the benefit of desalination industry. It is important to consider all the following five components in SWRO process i.e. (1) intake (2) pre-treatment (3) high pressure pumping (4) membrane separation (performance of membranes and brine disposal) and (5) product quality. Development of higher corrosion resistant piping materials or coating materials, valves, and pumps is believed to be in higher research demand. Furthermore, brine management, that includes brine disposal and resource recovery need further attention. Pre-treatment sludge management and reduced cleaning in place flush volume will reduce the capital costs associated with evaporation ponds and the maintenance costs associated with disposal and transportation reducing the unit cost of water.


Desalination Reverse osmosis Sludge disposal Brine management Corrosion 



The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the VU-CRGS grant from Victoria University. Authors would like to thank Robert Vollprecht, Degremont PTY LTD for supplying valuable data throughout the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Liyanaarachchi
    • 1
  • L. Shu
    • 1
  • S. Muthukumaran
    • 2
  • V. Jegatheesan
    • 1
  • K. Baskaran
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EngineeringDeakin UniversityWaurn PondsAustralia
  2. 2.College of Engineering and ScienceVictoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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