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RO Plant Design

RO Plant Design


I am a mech. eng. and I have to design water desalination (RO plant)

It is the first time for me to design RO plant so can you recommend a textbook or something helpful to read?

I will use cadix and rosa design tools but i want to read more about the design of RO plant.


RE: RO Plant Design

Which part are you going to design? You might be a bit busy if you are designing all of it.

Inlet screening
Fine filtration
gravity filtration
Membrane plant
washing facilities
sludge separation & handling
water storage
brine storage & disposal
Co2/lime buffering
chemical treatment
intake tunnel
outfall tunnel

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
---B.B. King

RE: RO Plant Design

we are a contracting compony

and i am supposed to design all the prject

I want a good textbook or reference to involve myself in RO plant design

RE: RO Plant Design


As far as I know the desalination plant industry is very tightly managed and the proprietary designs are kept secure. I have worked on three major projects in Australia. The process design is kept by the likes of Veolia , Degremont or Acciona Agua. There are a number of smaller players.

It is not a simple matter to design such a project and there are many traps, least of which involves the materials of selection to provide a suitable life for the plant. Even then mistakes are made, even by the majors. . Corrosion is not only the product of the sea water but the unbuffered RO permeate and brine reject. It affects the pipework and concrete structures.

The key to success of the plants is the energy requirement to produce a tonne of permeate. Acciona Agua has some patented process to provide a very efficient plant. membrane manufacturers have research and development projects to reduce the energy requirements. The membrane manufacturers work closely with the major EPCM contractors and operators as they provide the bulk of their business.

Suggest you leave your company and go and work for one of the aforementioned companies for at least 10 years and then rejoin the company. It is foolish to believe you can learn to design a desalination, or any other, plant from a text book. There are many years of experience and lessons learned in developing an operating plant design. The existing companies are going to give their technology away as they have invested heavily in it. This includes rectifying their own mistakes. Obviously they dont publicise when they have stuffed up.

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
---B.B. King

RE: RO Plant Design

It is hard to say that only one can design this project

I only want a reference to enhance my knowledge about water desalination specially RO systems and the best providers and most efficient components for RO plants

and thanks at all

RE: RO Plant Design

AMedhat, designing a RO Plant is a very sophisticated and specialized project. I would suggest you get all the preliminary site work under control, such as location, permits, design capacity, and other project details started first. Then you should prepare the bid documents for a design and build project where some company with vast experience can advise you and do the detailed design.

Of course, on-line and research from the journals can help you understand many aspects of the design of a RO plant. But a site visit to several functioning RO projects will give you a much better understanding of the design complexities. Operation and maintenance are major considerations in the design - and that can be better understood by talking with the owners of the plant, the operators, and design engineer.

It is not a project to be undertaken individually by even the most experienced engineer. If you are responsible for this project then put on your hat as a project manager and gather a team of people who are experienced with all aspects of reverse osmosis.

RE: RO Plant Design


Yes the RO plant design is sophisticated but as a mechanical engineer the different apsects should have been encountered if you have 15 to 20 years experience in the petrochem industry.

The hydraulics and pump selection are no more different than for a refinery or chemical process plant.
The use of super duplex or duplex stainless steels, thermoplastic piping is no different to other process industries.
Waste treatment and solids recovery along with chemical treatment is no different.

The biggest hurdle is that engineers think that an RO plant is a water treatment plant. This is far from the truth. To be honest, water industry engineers are left floundering as they just do not have the experience of ASME B31.3 , Class 600/900 flanged pipe systems, welding special ss alloys, high pressure pumping in parallel operation, high pressure filtration, brine handling etc etc. These plants are sophisticatedd chemical process plants. The only thing to do with the water industry is the end product.

I worked on a major desalination project where the consultant put their water industry engineers on the job rather than their chemical enginering specialists. What a disaster. It will end up in the courts as they just "didn't know what they didnt know". Designs ran late, there was a steep learning curve and it cost a lot of extra money to build.

I have seen the same thing happen in the mining industry where solvent extraction and hogh pressure acid recovery of nickel was involved. This was not a mining project or mineral recovery project. It was a chemical processsing plant admittedly with solids handling.

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
---B.B. King

RE: RO Plant Design

(Then you should prepare the bid documents for a design and build project where some company with vast experience can advise you and do the detailed design.)

That what we will do

Only I wanted a good reference to begin from it and till now nobody suggested a good textbook to involve my self abot RO plants or RO design steps

RE: RO Plant Design

There are several books. The book selection will depend on the type of project that you have.

You can the books in a library near you. Try

The Guidebook to Membrane Desalination Technology : Reverse Osmosis, Nanofiltration and Hybrid Systems Process, Design, Applications and Economics

Reverse Osmosis: Design, Processes, and Applications for Engineers (Wiley-Scrivener) by Jane Kucera

Desalination of Seawater and Brackish Water (Awwa Trend Series)

Reverse Osmosis: Membrane technology, water chemistry, and industrial applications by Zahid Amjad

Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration, 2e (Awwa Manual)

Membrane and Desalination Technologies (Handbook of Environmental Engineering)

Suggest you attend a seminar:

RE: RO Plant Design

For information on corrosion of stainless steels try For welding duplex/super duplex stainless steel try Bohler or Sandvik websites.

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
---B.B. King

RE: RO Plant Design

Most advanced RO plants use MTS plug valves on the high pressure side and Noreva non slam non return valves.

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
---B.B. King

RE: RO Plant Design

forget the books man

read all the technical documents on the sites of DOW, Hydranautics, Koch Membrane, Toray and the like

lots od useful info there


RE: RO Plant Design


These are fine for the membrane technology but an RO plant is much more than a bank of membranes for the mechanical engineer. The kst project I was involved with had 15 mechanical engineers all looking at different aspects of the plant.

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
---B.B. King

RE: RO Plant Design

Hi Ahmedhat,

Learning more about the RO process is never a bad thing. Trying to design it without prior experieince or someone expereinced that is overseeing everything is a recipe for disaster. Reading a book compared to designing are two different things. There is the theorectical side of how the process works and then there is the practical side of putting something toegther on paper that someone can build from and order equipment from

I would heed the advice of many of the engineers on this thread. Let's put it this way, if you have never designed anything before:

1. First time on a project you have your hands in your pocket watching
2. Second time, on a similiar project you do a few design things
3. Third time on a similiar project you are a pro

A person learns from his mistakes. Some mistakes can be very big and very costly

RE: RO Plant Design


Thanks for your advice

I am a mechanical engineer has been ordered to get involved about RO plant design

we are a contracting company working on water resources and want to inter RO business so i wanted some advices to begin even if we made an order for the whole project for a leading company like DOW .

thanks at all

RE: RO Plant Design


DOW make the membranes. For an EPCM company to deliver the whole project go to Degremont, Veolia or Acciona Agua for a large plant. For the smaller ones get out the yellow pages in your are.

If you wanted a refiney you woldnt just go to the catcracker company would you? It may be the hert of the process but there is far more to be designed.

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
---B.B. King

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