A techno-economic analysis of membrane-based advanced treatment processes for the reuse of municipal wastewater

Philipp Kehrein*, Morez Jafari, Marc Slagt, Emile Cornelissen, Patricia Osseweijer, John Posada, Mark van Loosdrecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The objective of this paper is to compare, under Dutch market conditions, the energy consumption and net costs of membrane-based advanced treatment processes for three water reuse types (i.e. potable, industrial, agricultural reuse). The water source is municipal waste-water treatment plant effluent. Results indicate that the application of reverse osmosis is needed to reclaim high quality water for industrial and potable reuse but not for irrigation water which offers significant energy savings but may not lead automatically to lower net costs. While a reclamation process for industrial reuse is economically most promising, irrigation water reclamation processes are not cost effective due to low water prices. Moreover, process operational expenditures may exceed capital expenditures which is important for tender procedures. A significant cost factor is waste management that may exceed energy costs. Water recovery rates could be significantly enhanced through the integration of a softener/biostabilizer unit prior to reverse osmosis. Moreover, the energy consumption of wastewater reclamation processes could be supplied on-site with solar energy. The possibility of designing a ‘fit for multi-purpose’ reclamation process is discussed briefly. This comparative analysis allows for better informed decision making about which reuse type is preferably targeted in a municipal wastewater reuse project from a process design perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-725
JournalWater Reuse
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Process innovation and optimization
  • Sustainability
  • Techno-economic assessment
  • Water reuse
  • Water-energy nexus


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