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Journal Article 
Seawater-driven forward osmosis for enriching nitrogen and phosphorous in treated municipal wastewater: Effect of membrane properties and feed solution chemistry 
Xue, W; Tobino, T; Nakajima, F; Yamamoto, K 
Water Research
ISSN: 0043-1354
EISSN: 1879-2448 
Seawater-driven forward osmosis (FO) is considered to be a novel strategy to concentrate nutrients in treated municipal wastewater for further recovery as well as simultaneous discharge of highly purified wastewater into the sea with low cost. As a preliminary test, the performance of FO membranes in concentrating nutrients was investigated by both batch experiments and model simulation approaches. With synthetic seawater as the draw solution, the dissolved organic carbon, phosphate, and ammonia in the effluent from a membrane bioreactor (MBR) treating municipal wastewater were 2.3-fold, 2.3-fold, and 2.1-fold, respectively, concentrated by the FO process with approximately 57% of water reduction. Most of the dissolved components, including trace metals in the MBR effluent, were highly retained (>80%) in the feed side, indicating high water quality of permeate to be discharged. The effect of membrane properties on the nutrient enrichment performance was investigated by comparing three types of FO membranes. Interestingly, a polyamide membrane possessing a high negative charge demonstrated a poor capability of retaining ammonia, which was hypothesized because of an ion exchange-like mechanism across the membrane prompted by the high ionic concentration of the draw solution. A feed solution pH of 7 was demonstrated to be an optimum condition for improving the overall retention of nutrients, especially for ammonia because of the pH-dependent speciation of ammonia/ammonium forms. The modeling results showed that higher than 10-fold concentrations of ammonia and phosphate are achievable by seawater-driven FO with a draw solution to feed solution volume ratio of 2:1. The enriched municipal wastewater contains nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations comparable with typical animal wastewater and anaerobic digestion effluent, which are used for direct nutrient recovery. 
Forward osmosis; Seawater driven; Nutrient enrichment; Membrane properties; Feed solution pH