Short course on Experimental Methods in Desalination and Membrane Technology

This two week course covers the fundamentals of membrane-based desalination and the experimental and analytical methods for water quality characterization applied in desalination and membrane technology processes for producing drinking and industrial water and water for irrigation.

Course coordinator: Sergio Salinas, PhD, MSc

Course description link here.

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:

  1. To explain the fundamentals of membrane-based desalination.
  2. To explain the fundamentals and main methodological steps involved in the preparation and conduction of experimental methods applied to assess fouling and scaling in desalination and water treatment systems.
  3. To design and conduct experimental methods to assess the fouling and scaling potential of water along a treatment process.
  4. To critically analyze and discuss data and results obtained from experimental methods to assess the fouling and scaling potential in treatment systems.
  5. To evaluate the process performance and characteristics of drinking water treatment processes including desalination.

New Book: Microbial Desalination Cells for Low Energy Drinking Water

Sergio Salinas, Maria Kennedy, and Ángeles Mendoza from IHE Delft together with partners from Aqualia (Spain), Imdea Water (Spain), and Leitat (Spain) have published Microbial Desalination Cells for Low Energy Drinking Water (IWA Publishing, London).

The world´s largest demonstrator of a revolutionary energy system in desalination for drinking water production is in operation. MIDES uses Microbial Desalination Cells (MDC) in a pre-treatment step for reverse osmosis (RO), for simultaneous saline stream desalination and wastewater treatment.

MDCs are based on bio-electro-chemical technology, in which biological wastewater treatment can be coupled to the desalination of a saline stream using ion exchange membranes without external energy input. MDCs simultaneously treat wastewater and perform desalination using the energy contained in the wastewater. In fact, an MDC can produce around 1.8 kWh of bioelectricity from the energy contained in 1 m3 of wastewater. Compared to traditional RO, more than 3 kWh/m3 of electrical energy is saved. With this novel technology, two low-quality water streams (saline stream, wastewater) are transformed into two high-quality streams (desalinated water, treated wastewater) suitable for further uses.

An exhaustive scaling-up process was carried out in which all MIDES partners worked together on nanostructured electrodes, antifouling membranes, electrochemical reactor design and optimization, pre-treatment, life cycle assessment, microbial electrochemistry and physiology expertise, and process engineering and control. The roadmap of the lab-MDC upscaling goes through the assembly of a pre-pilot MDC, towards the development of the demonstrator of the MDC technology (patented). Nominal desalination rate between 4-11 Lm-2h-1 is reached with a current efficiency of 40 %. After the scalability success, two MDC pilot plants were designed and constructed consisting of one stack of 15 MDC pilot units with a 0.4 m2 electrode area per unit.

This book presents the information generated throughout the EU funded MIDES project and includes the latest developments related to desalination of sea water and brackish water by applying microbial desalination cells.

The electronic version of the book (PDF format) is open access under the CC BY OA license. Link to download:

The paperback copy of the book can be ordered from the IWA Publisher:

New book: Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination: Assessment and Pre-Treatment of Fouling and Scaling

Sergio Salinas, Jan Schippers and Maria Kennedy from IHE Delft (Netherlands), Gary L. Amy from Clemson University (USA) and In S. Kim from GIST (South Korea) have published the first edition of Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination: Assessment and Pre-treatment of Fouling and Scaling (IWA Publishing, London).

Desalination as a method to provide clean drinking water has become vital – particularly in a context where drought, water scarcity and rapid quality decrease of water bodies have become an undeniable reality. After more than half a century of membrane-based desalination, fouling and scaling are still a dominant challenge. In membrane technologies, in particular, fouling and scaling are a major issue with respect to design, operation, reliability of the technologies and cost.

This textbook covers theory and practice and is intended for designers, operators, consultants, suppliers and students. Principles of ultra- and nanofiltration and reverse osmosis (RO) are discussed, enabling the reader to understand the link between design, operation and fouling and scaling. Fouling (particulate, organic -including algal bloom events, inorganic, and biofouling) and scaling are treated in detail, including parameters to determine fouling and scaling potential of feed waters. Principles of conventional and advanced pre-treatment processes are highlighted and their effect on preventing fouling and scaling. In addition, the process design of RO systems and the recent advances in seawater RO and emerging membrane-based processes for seawater desalination are presented.

The electronic version of the book (PDF format) is open access under the CC BY-NC-ND license. Link to download:

The hardback copy of the book (available from 15 May) can be ordered from IWA Publishing:

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Online course on Desalination and Membrane Technology

This course provides theoretical and practical knowledge on the design and operation of desalination systems and membrane processes (microfiltration, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis). Specific topics such as membrane fouling, scaling and cleaning are dealt with in detail, including pre-treatment options and the latest developments in monitoring and controlling fouling.

Course coordinator: Dr. ir. Sergio Salinas

For whom

Professionals dealing with engineering, management and education in the fields of desalination of seawater and brackish water, water supply and urban infrastructure will benefit greatly from this short course. It is also helpful for post graduate students in civil, chemical, and environmental engineering. Participants from government organisations (such as local administrations and national agencies), non-governmental organisations and the private sector are encouraged to join. This course is ideal for practicing engineers who are working in the water supply systems.

Course content

Desalination: Introduction to desalination and membrane related technologies

Microfiltration/Ultrafiltration: Basic Principles of Ultrafiltration & Microfiltration. MF and UF elements, modules and systems. Membrane Fouling of MF and UF Systems. Membrane Cleaning of MF and UF Systems. Disinfection and MF/UF systems.

Reverse osmosis: Principles of reverse osmosis and nanofiltration, Overview RO / NF membranes and elements. Process design of RO. Fouling and clogging in RO and NF systems. Particulate fouling. Pretreatment in RO systems. Biofouling. Introduction scaling & calculations. Calcium carbonate, LSI and S&DSI. Monitoring, control scaling and anti-scalants. Calculations with software. Manual Calculations for the design of a Seawater Reverse Osmosis Plant. Case studies water reuse and membrane systems.

See more information: OLC DMT info

PhD Defense of Motasem Abushaban

On December 3 at 15:00 at the Aula of the TU Delft, Mr. Motasem Abushaban succesfully defended his PhD dissertation entitled “Assessing bacterial growth potential in seawater reverse osmosis pretreatment”.

The PhD Examination Committee
Signing the PhD diploma by the rector of IHE Delft, rector representative of the TU Delft, the promotor, co-promotor, and the beadle.
Dr. Salinas reading the laudatio