Membrane end-of-life (MemEOL) Tool

From Desal Wiki

Membrane Waste Challenge

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  • Reverse osmosis plants use thousands of elements that need to be replaced every 5-10 years.
  • In many parts of the world, landfill is currently the only option for disposal.
  • Over 12,000 tonnes of membranes per year is to be disposed globally by 2015.
  • Many reuse and recycle options are available for this valuable commodity.

For more detail about the membrane waste challenge click here.

The MemEOL Tool

This membrane end-of-life (MemEOL) tool is aimed at promoting better practices in the desalination industry by helping users identify and select the optimum end-of-life option for their used reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. This dynamic and interactive educational tool uses inputs on membrane condition and the relative importance of a number of key criteria to provide recommendation and further information about available end-of-life options.

For information on how the tool works click here.

Access the MemEOL Tool here.

Alternative Options for End-Of-Life RO

Direct Reuse

  • Used membranes have been shown to be suitable for direct reuse after testing and characterisation.
  • Direct reuse has been shown to be the most environmentally friendly option.
  • Membranes used for over a year can be transported to any plant in Australia while remaining favourable to landfill.

More details are available here.

Conversion to UF

  • Treatment of RO membranes with sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) has been shown to effectively remove the dense polyamide active layer, leaving intact polysulfone barrier which behaves similar to 10kDa commercially available UF membrane.
  • Converted membranes show promising performance for a wide range of applications.

More details are available here.

Disposal Options

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  • A number of options has been considered for technical viability and environmental impact.
  • Membrane disassembly was shown to be a significant challenge.
  • Material (plastic) recycling is possible for 40% of the module.

More details are available here.

Join the MemEOL LinkedIn Group

Given the ever increasing use of membrane technology in water and wastewater treatment, the fate of the old modules is a new challenge for the industry. Over the recent years, membrane users have considered a large range of alternative options to landfill disposal. From direct reuse to module conversion, this network will allow the stakeholders to connect, discuss opportunities and challenges, so to help to further decrease the environmental impact of membrane applications.

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