Organic ionic salt draw solutions for osmotic membrane bioreactors

Katie S. Bowden, Andrea Achilli, Amy E. Childress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


This investigation evaluates the use of organic ionic salt solutions as draw solutions for specific use in osmotic membrane bioreactors. Also, this investigation presents a simple method for determining the diffusion coefficient of ionic salt solutions using only a characterized membrane. A selection of organic ionic draw solutions underwent a desktop screening process before being tested in the laboratory and evaluated for performance using specific salt flux (reverse salt flux per unit water flux), biodegradation potential, and replenishment cost. Two of the salts were found to have specific salt fluxes three to six times lower than two commonly used inorganic draw solutions, NaCl and MgCl2. All of the salts tested have organic anions with the potential to degrade in the bioreactor as a carbon source and aid in nutrient removal. Results demonstrate the potential benefits of organic ionic salt draw solutions over currently implemented inorganics in osmotic membrane bioreactor systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Denitrification
  • Forward osmosis
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Osmosis
  • Reverse salt flux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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