The effect of antiscalant addition on calcium carbonate precipitation for a simplified synthetic brackish water reverse osmosis concentrate

Lauren F. Greenlee, Fabrice Testa, Desmond F. Lawler, Benny D. Freeman, Philippe Moulin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The primary limitations to inland brackish water reverse osmosis (RO) desalination are the cost and technical feasibility of concentrate disposal. To decrease concentrate volume, a side-stream process can be used to precipitate problematic scaling salts and remove the precipitate with a solid/liquid separation step. The treated concentrate can then be purified through a secondary reverse osmosis stage to increase overall recovery and decrease the volume of waste requiring disposal. Antiscalants are used in an RO system to prevent salt precipitation but might affect side-stream concentrate treatment. Precipitation experiments were performed on a synthetic RO concentrate with and without antiscalant; of particular interest was the precipitation of calcium carbonate. Particle size distributions, calcium precipitation, microfiltration flux, and scanning electron microscopy were used to evaluate the effects of antiscalant type, antiscalant concentration, and precipitation pH on calcium carbonate precipitation and filtration. Results show that antiscalants can decrease precipitate particle size and change the shape of the particles; smaller particles can cause an increase in microfiltration flux decline during the solid/liquid separation step. The presence of antiscalant during precipitation can also decrease the mass of precipitated calcium carbonate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2957-2969
Number of pages13
JournalWater Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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