Ultrafiltration as a pretreatment for seawater desalination: A review

  • Lau, W.J. (Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre (AMTEC), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) ;
  • Goh, P.S. (Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre (AMTEC), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) ;
  • Ismail, A.F. (Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre (AMTEC), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia) ;
  • Lai, S.O. (Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering and Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman)
  • Received : 2013.10.24
  • Accepted : 2013.12.17
  • Published : 2014.01.25


Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination has gained wide and increasing acceptance around the world as a straightforward undertaking to alleviate the alarming water crisis. An enhanced monitoring of the quality of the water feeding in seawater RO (SWRO) plant through the application of an effective pretreatment option is one of the keys to the success of RO technology in desalination plants. Over the past 10 years, advances in ultrafiltration (UF) membrane technologies in application for water and wastewater treatment have prompted an impetus for using membrane pretreatment in seawater desalination plants. By integrating SWRO plant with UF pretreatment, the rate of membrane fouling can be significantly reduced and thus extend the life of RO membrane. With the growing importance and significant advances attained in UF pretreatment, this review presents an overview of UF pretreatment in SWRO plants. The advantages offered by UF as an alternative of pretreatment option are compared to the existing conventionally used technologies. The current progress made in the integration of SWRO with UF pretreatment is also highlighted. Finally, the recent advances pursued in UF technology is reviewed in order to provide an insight and hence path the way for the future development of this technology.



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