Boron Removal from Desalinated Seawater for Irrigation with an On-Farm Reverse Osmosis System in Southeastern Spain

Journal ar
  • Volumen: 12
  • Número: 3
  • Fecha: 01 March 2022
  • ISSN: 20734395
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.3390/agronomy12030611
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: MDPI
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Seawater desalination can provide water for irrigation in coastal regions where freshwater resources are scarce. Reverse osmosis (RO) is the most common technique to obtain desalinated seawater (DSW) worldwide. However, using DSW for irrigation may pose an agronomic risk as RO permeates have a boron concentration above the phytotoxicity thresholds of some sensitive crops, such as woody crops (0.5 to 1.0 mg/L). In this study, an on-farm RO system designed to reduce the boron concentration of DSW was evaluated from a technical and economic perspective. The impact of variations in the operating parameters feed water temperature, pressure, and pH, on the boron reduction process was assessed. The results showed that boron rejections close to 99% can be obtained by increasing the feed water pH to 11 with an operating pressure of 10 bar. Looking at the affordability of the system, a total production cost of 1.076 EUR/m3 was estimated for the 1.1 m3/h on-farm system used in the trial. However, this cost is expected to decrease to 0.307 EUR/m3 for a commercial RO plant (42 m3/h), highlighting the importance of the scale factor. Our results provide novel guidance on the feasibility of implementing on-farm boron removal RO systems, when DSW is provided by coastal plants with boron concentrations above the crop tolerance.

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