Forward osmosis membrane filtration for microalgae harvesting cultivated in sewage effluent

Kim, Su-Bin;Paudel, Sachin;Seo, Gyu Tae

  • Received : 2015.01.11
  • Accepted : 2015.02.10
  • Published : 2015.03.31


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the performance of forward osmosis (FO) system for harvesting microalgae cultivated in secondary sewage effluent. Microalgae species used in this study were chlorella sp. ADE4. The drawing agents used for forward osmosis system were seawater and concentrate of sea water reverse osmosis (SWRO) system. Chlorella sp. ADE4 cultured in secondary sewage effluent illustrated moderate efficiency in removal of total nitrogen (TN) (68%) and superior performance in total phosphorus (TP) removal (99%). Comparison of seawater and SWRO concentrate as drawing agent were made in FO membrane separation of the microalgae. The result from this study depicts that SWRO concentrate is strong drawing agent in FO membrane system providing an average dewatering rate of $4.8L/(m^2{\cdot}hr)$ compared to seawater with average dewatering of $2.9L/(m^2{\cdot}hr)$. Results obtained from this study indicated that FO system could be viable option for harvesting the microalgae for further biodiesel production. SWRO concentrate as a drawing agent could be very important finding in field of membrane technology for disposal of SWRO concentrate.


Draw solution;Forward osmosis membrane;Microalgae;Seawater concentrate;Sewage effluent


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Grant : 친환경해양플랜트FEED 사업단