High silica concentration in RO concentrate

A. H. Haidari*, G. J. Witkamp, S. G.J. Heijman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Silica scaling is one of the major scaling challenges in Reverse Osmosis (RO). The safe operation practice is to keep the silica concentration below 150 mg/L in RO concentrate. This study addresses the effects of divalent cations such as calcium and magnesium on silica scaling in a seawater RO installation used as a pretreatment to Eutectic Freeze Crystallisation (EFC). Results showed that in the absence of antiscalant and divalent cations a sustained silica concentration of approximately 280 mg/L in concentrate is possible without declining membrane permeability. At a higher concentration of divalent cations, the membrane permeability decreased. Membrane autopsy and analysing destructed membrane showed a relatively low magnesium and a high calcium concentration on the membrane after adding divalent ions into the solutions. It is concluded that in absence of divalent cations and without antiscalant the limits of 150 mg/L silica can be extended to 280 mg/L for 6–8 h.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100171
Number of pages12
JournalWater Resources and Industry
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Membrane fouling
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Silica scaling

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