Recent developments in forward osmosis membranes using carbon-based nanomaterials

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Desalination, 2020, 482
Issue Date:
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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Contamination and industrial development are among the reasons for water quality deterioration beyond treatability by conventional processes. Unfortunately, conventional water and wastewater treatment technologies are not always capable of handling industrial wastewaters, and hence more advanced treatment technologies are required. The new trend of osmotically driven membrane technologies has demonstrated an exceptional efficiency for water purification and treatment including seawater desalination. Compared to pressure-driven membrane processes, forward osmosis (FO) technology, as a standalone process, is more energy-efficient, and less prone to membrane fouling than its predecessor reverse osmosis (RO) technology. However, forward osmosis suffers a severe concentration polarization that is acting on both sides of the membrane and results in a sharp decline in water flux. A thinner support layer has been recommended to lessen the concentration polarization impact in the FO process but a very thin support layer compromises the membrane mechanical strength. Recently, researchers have applied different carbon-based nanomaterials to enhance water flux, fouling propensity, and mechanical strength of the FO membrane. This work reviews advancement in the FO membrane fabrication using carbon nanomaterials to improve the membrane characteristics. Despite a large number of laboratory experiments, carbon-based nanomaterials in the FO membrane are still at the early-stage of laboratory investigation and no commercial products are available yet. The study also reviews the main challenges that limit the application of carbon-based nanomaterials for FO membranes.
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