Effect of osmotic pressure on whey protein concentration in forward osmosis

Pelin Oymaci, Pauline E. Offeringa, Zandrie Borneman, Kitty Nijmeijer (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Forward osmosis (FO) is an emerging process to dewater whey streams energy efficiently. The driving force for the process is the concentration gradient between the feed (FS) and the concentrated draw (DS) solution. Here we investigate not only the effect of the DS concentration on the performance, but also that of the FS is varied to maintain equal driving force at different absolute concentrations. Experiments with clean water as feed reveal a flux increase at higher osmotic pressure. When high product purities and thus low reverse salt fluxes are required, operation at lower DS concentrations is preferred. Whey as FS induces severe initial flux decline due to instantaneous protein fouling of the membrane. This is mostly due to reversible fouling, and to a smaller extent to irreversible fouling. Concentration factors in the range of 1.2–1.3 are obtained. When 0.5 M NaCl is added to whey as FS, clearly lower fluxes are obtained due to more severe concentration polarization. Multiple runs over longer times show though that irreversible fouling is fully suppressed due to salting in/out effects and flux decline is the result of reversible fouling only.

Original languageEnglish
Article number573
Number of pages13
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Forward osmosis
  • Fouling
  • Osmotic pressure
  • Thin-film composite membrane
  • Whey protein


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