Water purification from brackish water sources has been acknowledged as one of the most promising ways to produce drinkable water in water-scarce areas. In this study, an ultra-low pressure reverse osmosis (ULPRO) membrane was numerically and experimentally investigated to produce drinking water by the removal of sodium chloride salt which provides further validation of the model from a practical perspective. An enhanced predictive model based on the Donnan-Steric Pore Model with dielectric exclusion (DSPM-DE) incorporating the osmotic effects was formulated in process simulation. The feed pressure and concentration were optimized as input variables and interaction between them was observed, while salt rejection and water recovery rate were taken as response attributes. The results obtained on the ULPRO membrane showed that the performance depends on the charge, steric, and dielectric effects. Furthermore, the enhanced model was validated with the experimental data attained from a laboratory-scale filtration system with good accuracy in the salt rejection and water recovery results. Comparing the enhanced DSPM-DE with the existing solution diffusion model reveals that the enhanced model predicts the membrane performance better and thereby qualifies itself as a reliable model for desalination of brackish water using ULPRO membrane.

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