BE-SALT Biofilm Eradication by Salinity Alteration in Desalination

  • Meyer, Rikke Louise (Principle researcher)
  • Søborg, Ditte Andreasen (Co-researcher)
  • Skovhus, Torben Lund (CoPI)
  • Ramsay, Loren Mark (Co-researcher)
  • Tang, Lone (Co-researcher)
  • Koren, Klaus (Co-researcher)
  • Kjeldsen, Kasper Urup (Co-researcher)
  • Højris, Bo (Co-researcher)
  • Villacorte, Loreen Opel (Co-researcher)
  • Seviour, Thomas (Co-researcher)
  • Quint, Victor Augusto Yangali (Co-researcher)
  • Ekowati, Yuli (Co-researcher)
  • Poulsen, Jan Struckmann (Co-researcher)
  • Aggerholm, Steffen Larsen (Co-researcher)

Project Details


Access to clean water is a major global issue. Saline and wastewater can be returned to high quality freshwater through reverse osmosis (RO) desalination. The main operational challenge for this process is scaling and biofouling, which decreases RO water recovery and increases energy- and
chemical consumption. Conventional RO systems are operated in continuous mode with constant brine salinity. In such systems, fouling organisms adapt and form biofilms on the RO membrane. Operating RO systems in batch mode with fluctuating salinity and intermittent brine discharge can
reduce water and energy consumption. However, few such installations exist, and it is not known if batch RO operation can be used to eradicate biofouling.
We hypothesize that, with appropriate controls, batch operation of RO will minimize biofouling as alternating salinity hinders the biofilm-forming microorganism´s ability to adapt and proliferate.
The aim of BE-SALT is to
provide mechanistic insight into biofouling and scaling under fluctuating salinity
implement this knowledge into design and optimization of sensor-based operation of batch RO systems to reduce operational cost (water, energy, chemicals) by >15% compared to continuous RO systems, while enabling high water recovery rates (>75 %)
demonstrate the concept in pilot scale and at an end-user
Our vision is to lead the way for process design and water/energy efficient operation of RO systems for clean water production.
Effective start/end date01/05/2330/04/27

Collaborative partners

  • Aarhus University (lead)
  • Grundfos A/S (Project partner)
  • SAMN Forsyning (Project partner)
  • VIA University College (Project partner)