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Environ Geochem Health DOI 10.



Effect of temperature on seawater desalination-water quality analyses for desalinated seawater for its use as drinking and irrigation water
Enver Guler Deniz Ozakdag Muserref Arda Mithat Yuksel Nalan Kabay

Received: 28 June 2009 / Accepted: 18 October 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Abstract The effect of feed seawater temperature on the quality of product water in a reverse osmosis process was investigated using typical seawater at Urla Bay, Izmir region, Turkey. The tests were carried out at different feed seawater temperatures (1123C) using two RO modules with one membrane element each. A number of variables, including pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids, salinity, rejection percentage of a number of ions (Na?, K?, Ca2?, Mg2?, Cl-, HCO3-, and SO42-), and the levels of boron and turbidities in collected permeates, were measured. The suitability of these permeates as irrigation and drinking water was checked by comparison with water quality standards. Keywords Drinking water Irrigation water Reverse osmosis SWRO Water quality standards Introduction Agriculture is responsible for the primary consumptive use of water in many regions of the world. Saline

E. Guler M. Yuksel N. Kabay (&) Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Ege University, Izmir 35100, Turkey e-mail: nalan.kabay@ege.edu.tr D. Ozakdag M. Arda Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Ege University, Izmir 35100, Turkey

water has long been considered to be unusable for irrigation, but new research during the past two decades has helped bring into practice a number of large irrigation schemes that depend on saline water. Salinity generally affects the growth of plants by producing either an ion excess or a water decit in the expanded leaves. Water uptake is restricted by salinity due to the high osmotic potential in the soil and high concentrations of specic ions that may cause physiological disorders in the plant tissues and reduce yields. However, some crops, such as wheat and barley, can be salt tolerant, a property that can be enhanced by selection and breeding (Ghadiri et al. 2005). Boron toxicity is an important plant disorder that can limit plant growth on soils of arid and semi-arid environments throughout the world. High concentrations of boron may occur naturally in the soil or groundwater, or they may be added to the soil as a result of mining activity, fertilizers, or irrigation water. Although boron toxicity is of considerable agronomic importance, information on this subject is rather fragmented and limited. Boron has also been found to be potentially harmful in drinking water and has suspected teratogenetic properties. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a limit of 0.5 mg/L for boron in drinking water and indicated values between 0.3 and 0.5 mg/L for medium and large desalination plants (Nadav 1999). The production of safe water from seawater has become an obligation in some regions, such as in the


Environ Geochem Health

Middle East and many African countries. Two most widely used desalination methods are reverse osmosis (RO), which is a membrane separation process, and multistage ash distillation, which is a thermal process. Although thermal processes are still the preferred type of desalination system in some Middle Eastern countries, RO is preferred in many countries of the world because of its low energy consumption. RO systems have been successfully used for more than 20 years to produce potable and drinking water from seawater (Fritzmann et al. 2007; Kabay et al. 2008a, b). Guler et al. (2009) reported the effects of various process parameters (temperature and pressure) on the efciency of the RO pilot plant located in the Urla Bay-Izmir region, Turkey when in single membrane operation mode. Here, we report the results of our analysis of the product water produced from the same RO unit in full capacity operation with two membranes. We also assessed the suitability of the product water, the so-called permeate, as drinking and irrigation water.

Fig. 1 Flow diagram of the reverse osmosis (RO) system

Materials and methods A pilot-scale seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) test unit (feed ow range 250300 L/h; pressure range max. 69 bar) was used for all experiments (Fig. 1). In this unit, the raw seawater from an open intake is rst chlorinated to protect against biological fouling of the membranes, and then the residual chlorine is eliminated by the addition of sodium metabisulphite in order to protect the membranes from oxidation. Colloidal fouling is partially controlled by installing sand and cartridge lters in the system. The usage of a proper antiscalant and the addition of an acid, HCl, for pH adjustment also protects the membranes from scaling. Following this pretreatment of feed water, a high pressure is applied during the membrane separation operation. The membranes available are the commercial spiral wound FilmTecTM SW30-2540 membranes, each with an active area of 2.8 m2. We tested the efciency of the system for different feed water temperatures (11, 13, 14, 15, and 23C). Online measurements, such as conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), and salinity were performed on the eld side. The concentrations of a number of ions were determined by atomic absorption spectroscopy

(AAS), and a spectrophotometric method known as Azomethine-H was used for determining the concentration of boron (Ipek 2009). The absorbances of samples were measured at 415 nm using a Jasco SSE343, V-530 UV/VIS model spectrophotometer (Jasco, Easton, MD).

Results and discussion The effects of water temperature on various parameters during the full capacity operation mode of the SWRO unit were investigated. Table 1 shows the effect of feed seawater temperature (1123C) on the process parameters of the feed seawater and permeate streams. The parameters conductivity, TDS, salinity, and pH were measured by portable conductivity and pH meters with digital displays. The chemical composition (sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, sulfate and boron) and levels of turbidity (referred as NTU in the table) in the feed seawater and permeate streams are given in Tables 2 and 3. The quality of the product water was evaluated by comparing ion concentrations in permeate samples with standard irrigation and drinking water standards [Guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Turkish Standards Institute (TSE)]. These comparisons are given in Tables 4 and 5.


Environ Geochem Health Table 1 Experimental data and calculated values of feed and permeate streams of the SWRO unit in full capacity operation with two membranes at 55 bar of applied pressure and different temperatures of feed seawater Feed seawater Temperature (C) 11 13 14 15 23 Permeate Permeate recovery (%) 19.9 19.7 23.5 20.3 23.9 EC (lS/cm) 856 902 705 1,013 1,030 pH 7.5 7.9 7.3 7.8 7.2 TDS (mg/L) 425 453 353 507 515 Salinity (%) 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.3 EC (lS/cm) 59,800 59,800 51,900 59,200 56,700 pH 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 TDS (mg/L) 39,941 40,145 34,322 39,941 38,408 Salinity (%) 39.1 39.3 33.6 39.1 37.6

SWRO, Seawater reverse osmosis; EC, electrical conductivity; TDS, total dissolved solids

Table 2 Cation concentrations in the feed and permeate streams of the SWRO unit in full capacity operation with two membranes at a constant applied pressure of 55 bar and different temperatures of feed seawater and permeate Temperature (C) Feed seawater 11 13 14 15 23 Permeate 11 13 14 15 23 10,400 10,276 9,235 9,955 12,820 127.18 136.77 101.84 150.40 182.10 1,118 1,057 1,058 991 934 7.15 7.50 5.69 9.05 5.53 390 384 457 402 461 1.49 1.56 1.31 2.17 1.77 530 544 474 526 534 9.15 9.66 7.69 10.22 11.02 [Na?] [Mg2?] [Ca2?] [K?]

Table 3 Anion and boron concentrations and turbidities in feed and permeate streams of the SWRO unit in full capacity operation with two membranes at a constant applied pressure of 55 bar and different temperatures of feed seawater and permeate Temperature (C) Feed seawater 11 13 14 15 23 Permeate 11 13 14 15 23 1.09 1.10 2.31 1.69 1.18 268.63 254.94 203.95 282.66 331.12 19.22 18.15 21.62 19.40 16.16 1.1 1.3 1.7 1.9 1.9 0.04 0.12 0.06 0.14 0.13 163 166 181 152 181 21,349 22,419 21,499 22,401 24,582 2,898 2,794 2,880 3,208 3,184 4.7 5.3 5.1 5.3 5.4 0.60 0.80 0.73 0.70 0.82 [HCO3-] [Cl-] [SO42-] [B] NTU

Concentrations of cations are given in milligrams per liter

The comparison of the permeate data with the drinking water and irrigation water standards revealed that concentrations of cations and anions in the RO permeate were at an acceptable level for drinking and irrigation water. However, Na? and Clconcentrations were slightly higher according to the TSE-266 drinking water standard in one of the tests

Concentrations are given in milligrams per liter, with the exception of turbidity which is given in NTU (nephelometric turbidity units)

which was performed on feed water at the highest temperature. Based on the results of the TDS and conductivity tests, the permeate was suitable as drinking and irrigation water. The HCO3- concentrations of the


Environ Geochem Health Table 4 Compliance of the Urla SWRO permeates with drinking water standards Parameters WHO TSE 266 Urla RO permeate (minimummaximum) 353515 7051,030 7.27.9 203.95331.12 101.84182.10 5.699.05 1.312.17 7.6911.02 16.1621.62 1.092.31 1.11.9 0.040.14
98.68 99.32 99.60 98.17 99.13 98.81 99.36


Removal [%]

90 80 70 60 50

TDS (mg/L) EC (lS/cm) pH [Cl-] [Na?] [Mg2?] [Ca ] [K?] [SO42-] [HCO3-] [B] NTU

1,000 500800 6.58.8 250 200 30 75 NGa 250 NG 0.5 \0.5

1,500 2,500 6.59.2 600 175 50 100200 12 250 NG NG \1

so di um m ag ne si um

iu m ar bo na te ch lo rid e

ca lc

po ta ss

Chemical species
Fig. 2 Removal percentages of chemical species by the RO system at a constant applied pressure of 55 bar

WHO, World Health Organization; TSE, Turkish Standards Institute


No Guideline

Table 5 Compliance of the Urla SWRO permeates with irrigation water standards Parameters Irrigation water standard 5005,000 02,250 6.58.8 0400 50250 3050 40100 N.G. 200575 NGa NG NG Urla RO permeate (minimummaximum) 353515 7051,030 7.27.9 203.95331.12 101.84182.10 5.699.05 1.312.17 7.6911.02 16.1621.62 1.092.31 1.11.9 0.040.14

chemical species, primarily due to the temperature dependence of boric acid dissociation in water. There have been some reports of a correlation between boric acid dissociation and temperature. At a high temperature, the pKb for H3BO3 decreases, resulting in a stronger presence of neutral H3BO3 and, therefore, a lower rejection rate for boron (Mesmer et al. 1972).

Conclusions The results of the RO experiments reported here reveal that the quality of the permeate was highly dependent on the temperature of the feed seawater, with decreasing temperature enhancing permeate quality. A rejection rate of approximately 9899% was obtained for cations and anions, with the exception of boron, which had the lowest rejection rate of the chemical species tested, 70%. Permeate ux also decreased with decreasing temperature. Consequently, the results show that the temperature is an important parameter that must be taken into account in order to obtain a high quality of fresh water. Since boron removal is problematic in some applications used for drinking and irrigation water, several methods have been developed to enhance further boron removal. In contrast to the more conventional boron removal techniques (coagulation, activated carbon, xed bed operations and electrodialysis), methods such as ion exchange and adsorption-membrane ltration hybrid processes have been used for boron removal (Bryjak et al. 2008; Kabay et al. 2006, 2008a, b).

TDS (mg/L) EC (lS/cm) pH [Cl-] [Na?] [Mg2?] [Ca2?] [K ] [SO42-] [HCO3-] [B] NTU
a ?

No guideline

product water were low in all tests, and the turbidity level of the product water was acceptable according to both water standards (WHO and TSE-266). The rejection rate of the RO membranes for both anions and cations was nearly 100%, with the lowest rejection rate, nearly 70%, for boron (Fig. 2). Deviations in boron removal according to temperature were greater than those found for other


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su lfa te

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Environ Geochem Health

Our comparison of the Urla SWRO results with drinking and irrigation water standards revealed that the former agreed well with both standards. At this stage, the RO permeate can be used as irrigation water, but it is necessary to check a number of other parameters before it can be recommended as drinking water. Here we report our results from testing a number of chemical parameters that may affect the quality of the product water produced from the Urla SWRO plant. Other chemical and microbiological parameters should be investigated in future studies with the aim of achieving a complete agreement between the quality of the product water and international and national standards.
Acknowledgments This research was nancially supported by Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC) (Project No: MEDRC-04-AS-004) and Scientic Research Projects of Ege University (Project Numbers: EU-2007-MUH015 & EU-2008-MUH-029). We are grateful to the Faculty of Fisheries of Ege University for their kind support to perform our RO tests in Urla. We thank M. Akcay for the AAS analyses.

Bryjak, M., Wolska, J., & Kabay, N. (2008). Removal of boron from seawater by adsorption-membrane hybrid process: implementation and challenges. Desalination, 223, 5762.

Fritzmann, C., Lowenberg, J., Wintgens, T., & Melin, T. (2007). State-of-the-art of reverse osmosis desalination. Desalination, 216, 176. Ghadiri, H., Dordipour, I., Bybordi, M., & Malakouti, M. J. (2005). Potential use of Caspian Sea water for supplementary irrigation in Northern Iran. Agricultural Water Management, 79, 209224. Guler, E., Piekacz, J., Ozakdag, D., Kujawski, W., Arda, M., Yuksel, M., et al. (2009). Inuence of chosen process parameters on the efciency of seawater desalination: SWRO pilot plant results at Urla Bay seashore. Desalination and Water Treatment, 5, 167171. Ipek, I.Y. (2009). Boron removal from geothermal water by ion exchange-membrane ltration hybrid process. PhD thesis. Ege University, Izmir. Kabay, N., Bryjak, M., Schlosser, S., Kitis, M., Avlonitis, S., Matejka, Z., et al. (2008a). Adsorption-membrane ltration hybrid process for boron removal from seawater: an overview. Desalination, 223, 3848. Kabay, N., Sarp, S., Yuksel, M., Kitis, M., Koseoglu, H., Arar, O., et al. (2008b). Removal of boron from SWRO permeate by boron selective ion exchange resins containing N-methyl glucamine groups. Desalination, 223, 4956. Kabay, N., Yilmaz, I., Bryjak, M., & Yuksel, M. (2006). Removal of boron from aqueous solutions by ion exchange-membrane hybrid process. Desalination, 198, 7481. Mesmer, R. E., Baes, C. F. Jr., & Sweeton, F. H. (1972). Acidity measurements of elevated temperatures. VI. Boric acid equilibria. Inorganic Chemistry, 11(3), 53743. Nadav, N. (1999). Boron removal from seawater reverse osmosis permeate utilizing selective ion exchange resin. Desalination, 124 1315.


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