Osmotically and thermally isolated forward osmosis – membrane distillation (FO-MD) integrated module

Youngjin Kim, Sheng Li, Lijo Francis, Zhenyu Li, Rodrigo Valladares Linares, Ahmad Salem Alsaadi, Muhanned Abu Ghdaid, Hyuk Soo Son, Gary L. Amy, NorEddine Ghaffour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In this study, we propose a novel module design to integrate forward osmosis (FO) and membrane distillation (MD). The two processes are sealed in one module and operated simultaneously, making the system compact and suitable for a wide range of applications. To evaluate the system under large-scale module operating conditions, FO and MD experiments were performed separately. The effect of draw solution (DS) temperature on the FO performance was first assessed in terms of flux, reverse salt flux (RSF), and specific RSF (SRSF). While a higher DS temperature resulted in an increased RSF, a higher FO flux was achieved, with a lower SRSF. The influence of DS concentration on the MD performance was then investigated in terms of flux and salt rejection. High DS concentration had a slightly negative impact on MD water vapor flux, but the MD membrane was a complete barrier for DS salts. The FO-MD integrated module was simulated based on mass balance equations. Results indicated that initial DS (MD feed) flow rate and concentration are the most important factors for stable operation of the integrated module. Higher initial DS flow rate and lower initial DS concentration can achieve a higher permeate rate of the FO-MD module.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3488-3498
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 8 2019


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