Management model to optimise the use of reverse osmosis brine to backwash ultra–filtration systems at Medupi power station
Fourie, Frederik Jacobus
MetadataShow full item record
According to the Department of Water Affairs (DWAF, 2004 p.15), South Africa’s water resources are scarce and extremely limited and much of this precious resource is utilised and consumed in our industries. Treatment and re-use of effluent generated is, in some cases, preferred over use of alternate water resources (Du Plessis, 2008 p.3). The volume of effluent generated in treatment processes like ultra-filtration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) units is determined by the feed water quality, with high water loss through effluent generation at poor feed water quality. Current UF and RO applications require an increased UF production capacity due to the use of UF filtrate for periodic backwashing of the UF membrane units. This results in loss of water and decreases overall recovery. The need therefore exists to increase the overall recovery of product water from the raw water stream by reducing the amount of effluent generated. This would be possible to achieve by using RO brine to backwash the UF unit. The study was conducted to provide a modelling tool, assisting management to optimise the use of RO brine as backwash water on the UF system at the Medupi power station. The secondary objective of this study was the development of a modelling tool that can be used for other projects, new or existing, as a measure and indication of the usability of RO brine as backwash water on UF systems. By successfully applying this newly developed model, the viability of utilising the RO brine as backwash water for the UF was investigated. This modification would lead to utilizing smaller UF units than previously envisioned, which in turn leads to reducing capital cost with 11.07% and operating expenditure with 9.98% at the Medupi power station. This also has a positive environmental impact by reducing the amount of raw water used monthly by 10.34% (108 000 m3/month).
- Engineering