05 May 2015

pH-neutral membrane cleaning advances

Max Fazel has been beavering away at our UK lab looking at alternatives to the commonly-used
ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) with a comparable cleaning effect but a much improved environmental profile. He has come up with a very interesting new neutral pH formulation that is extremely effective at removing organics, clay, biofilm and iron. This makes it suitable for cleaning cellulose acetate membranes and it will also be much gentler on polyamide membranes.

This is an important potential development, as some manufacturers are tightening the warranty specifications for cleaning, reducing the maximum alkaline pH acceptable at temperatures above 35ËšC, due to fear of hydrolysis. This creates an issue for operators, as high temperature and pH are normally required to remove clay, biofilm and organics. Interestingly, at a large saltwater reverse osmosis plant using Genairclean, we recently found that we could conduct an effective clean at lower temperature and less alkaline pH, thus reducing wear and tear on the membranes, helping to extend the membrane lifespan.

We will continue to investigate the potential of microbubbles to boost membrane cleaning power at various levels of pH and temperature.

If you have a site where you would like to try our new neutral cleaner, please get in touch with Matt Armstrong at mattarmstrong@genesysro.com.

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