Electrocoagulation: The Optimized Tool for RO Preatment


Reverse Osmosis Desalination (RO) is used to treat water that comes from a variety of sources across the globe. From the brackish water of certain lakes and rivers, to the sources of tertiary municipal and industrial wastewater, this technology provides great versatility to its operator. It is because of the variability of the water quality, based upon its source, that the pretreatment steps for RO membrane treatment are different, yet one of the most critical. This pretreatment process is where specialized electrocoagulation technology can be very advantageous.

The technology of reverse osmosis desalination holds its principal use from the basis of membrane technology. There are several challenges that must be addressed in the membrane pretreatment process.

Challenges that must be addressed in the reverse osmosis pretreatment process include:

  • Membrane fouling and scaling from metal oxides

  • Colloids, and inorganic salts

  • Fouling by organic materials including silica, magnesium and calcium

  • Fouling or plugging by inorganic particles

  • Biofouling

If the items aforementioned are not sufficiently addressed in the RO pretreatment process, then the performance of the RO system will be drastically hindered. At times, this can culminate into a complete membrane failure, which is most commonly a result of inadequate pretreatment design and performance. It’s for this reason that the integration of pretreatment technology sufficiently suitable for protecting the RO membrane filters is not only valuable, but necessary.

Engineers within Genesis Water Technologies (GWT), a specialized leader in the global water treatment industry, pioneered the introduction of electrocoagulation as a reverse osmosis pretreatment solution for RO systems in specific applications based on the feed source water quality.

Electrocoagulation technology has existed for multiple decades, but it hadn’t been until recently, that engineers within GWT were able to harness the superior treatment results brought forth from its usage at a value that was cost-effective to the operator.

The move toward sustainability, has propelled the need for organizations to reduce among other parameters, their environmental footprint. For this reason, Genesis Water Technologies has led the development of viable methods to engineer the technology in a design that brings tremendous value to its operator for reverse osmosis pretreatment applications.

Electrocoagulation is a process that does not require the addition of any chemical coagulants, the coagulants are generated in-situ through the dissolution of sacrificial electrodes to remove biological, organic and inorganic compounds from the water source.

The distinct characteristics of electrocoagulation have allowed for the integration of this advanced technology to be accepted as a suitable pretreatment for contaminated feed water from brackish, seawater and tertiary wastewater sources prior to entrance into reverse osmosis systems.

Operational costs associated with RO systems include, pretreatment chemicals and membranes. By integrating advanced electrocoagulation into the pre-treatment process, GWT is able to replace conventional chemical coagulation treatment with superior results and potentially higher RO system recovery rates. Utilizing this approach also results in lower operation costs associated with the membrane system such as membrane chemicals and membrane filter replacement.

The use of electrocoagulation as a pre-treatment tool for Reverse Osmosis has many clear advantages over conventional chemical coagulation methods.

Genesis Water Technologies has become the industry leader in EC integration for pretreatment of reverse osmosis desalination systems using brackish water, seawater and tertiary wastewater feed water sources.

Choose an advanced water treatment and reuse specialist, Choose Genesis Water Technologies.

Interested to learn more about the value of integrating Genesis Water Technologies modular electrocoagulation technology for pretreatment of your RO treatment systems? Contact us at 1-877-267-3699 or reach out to us via email at customersupport@genesiswatertech.com
for a free initial consultation to discuss your specific application.