Can AFM ® work as an alternative to UF for pre-filtration prior to SWRO (salt water reverse osmosis)?

SWRO is an expensive and difficult process to manage, where the major problems are clogging and biofouling of the SWRO membrane. To help prevent this it is usual to install a UF filter as a pre-filter. This is also an expensive piece of equipment that consumes significant amounts of chemicals to keep clean. In simple terms, by using AFM to replace UF will save you money in the initial purchase price of the plant and provide an easier operational scenario with lower running costs.

Other points to note are:

  • If the system is replacing UF, the AFM system will be operate at 0.5 bar as opposed to maybe 5 bar pressure for the UF, so power demands on AFM are much lower.
  • As UF is prone to fouling, the membranes may also need pre filtration by a sand filter to reduce the level of fouling. If this is the case then AFM would be used in place of sand, and negate the need to use UF.
  • AFM can cope with much higher solids load than UF.
  • UF filters down to 0.03 microns but does not remove any chemicals from solution. AFM filters down to 1 micron, however when combined with APF flocculation and ZPM, nominal filtration is down to at least 0.1 microns, but it also removes many sub 0.01 micron particles as well as chemicals from solution such as dissolved organics, silicates, phosphate, ferric, manganese, chromium +3 & +6.
  • AFM is simple, using existing technology,and equipment is readily available.
  • The AFM process is easy to understand and maintain, the process is sustainable with lower operating costs, lower maintenance cost, better performance at removing chemicals from solution. UF gives absolute filtration down to 0.03 microns, AFM is nominal filtration down to approx. 0.1 microns.

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