Performance of Reverse Osmosis Membrane with Large Feed Pressure Fluctuations from a Wave-Driven Desalination System

Kurban Sitterley, Tani Cath, Dale Jenne, Yi-Hsiang Yu, Tzahi Cath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


Wave-driven desalination systems are proposed water treatment systems that involve reverse osmosis of seawater powered directly by wave motion. Such a configuration would result in drastic feed pressure fluctuations. For a technology conventionally operated with a constant feed condition, the effect of these variable pressures on membrane integrity and performance is unknown. Experiments were conducted with spiral wound membranes coupled to a system capable of producing feed pressure fluctuations of more than 400 psi. Feed composition included 5, 20, and 35 g/L NaCl, and a synthetic seawater at normal and 1.5× concentration. The variable feed conditions included sine-like pressure waves swings of 200–500 and 500–900 psi with frequencies of 1.25, 7.5, and 12 waves/min, and a model-generated random waveform. Between each wave experiment we performed membrane integrity tests at 650 psi and 25 g/L NaCl feed, which showed a 7.4% drop in the membrane's water permeability coefficient, an 18.4% flux decline, and more than 99% salt rejection over 1770 h of cumulative experimental time. Analysis of permeate samples showed high salt rejection. In general, variable feed pressure had no significant deleterious effect on membrane integrity or performance.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number115546
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-79989


  • Desalination
  • Hydrokinetic energy
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Sustainability
  • Wave energy


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