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American University in Cairo (2019)

Volume reduction of synthetic brine using fertilizer drawn forward osmosis for irrigation : a pilot-scale investigation

El Zayat, Hossam

Titre : Volume reduction of synthetic brine using fertilizer drawn forward osmosis for irrigation : a pilot-scale investigation

Auteur : El Zayat, Hossam

Université de soutenance : American University in Cairo

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2019

Résumé partiel
Due to the growing pressure on the conventional water resources and the increasing population in Egypt, attention has been given to increase the share of seawater desalination in total water resources mix. The most common desalination technology in Egypt is the reverse osmosis (RO) desalination which, beside the production of fresh water, results in large amounts of high salinity brine that is normally being disposed of into the sea. Since the generated brine usually contains traces of chemicals, which have been used for the pretreatment of water, along with a wide range of heavy metals resulting from the corrosion of the pipes, the discharge of the brine into the sea represents a serious environmental challenge if not properly managed. In order to reach an improved overall brine management process, a multitude of research work focused on investigating different techniques in that regard so that the impact on the surrounding environment becomes minimal. A number of parameters have been identified as the key factors which should be considered to reduce the harmful impacts on the environment. This includes both the volume and the chemical composition of the brine, geographical location and available area of the disposal site as well as the capacity of the desalination plant. The volume reduction of the brine could be achieved using different techniques ; one of which is the fertilizer drawn forward osmosis (FDFO) process. In that process, RO brine is introduced as the feed solution (FS) while a concentrated fertilizer is used as the draw solution (DS). The process results in further extraction of water from the FS which means a reduction in its volume. The final diluted DS can be used for fertilized irrigation or “Fertigation” ; an application that can fill a gap in a country like Egypt with the majority of its water consumption is dedicated for agricultural use. In earlier studies, several fertilizer solutions have been tested as potential DS’s to identify the best performing fertilizers with the highest financial feasibility. In this research, an FDFO process was tested, in both bench-scale and pilot-scale investigations, for the volume reduction of a synthetic brine using a locally manufactured industrial-grade ammonium sulphate (NH4)2SO4 fertilizer as DS and a commercial FO membrane.

Mots clés : Desalination , Forward Osmosis , Reverse Osmosis , Brine , Volume Minimization , Volume Reduction , FDFO , Fertilizer Drawn Forward Osmosis , Fertigation

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