RO Brine Treatment R&D

NSF SBIR Phase I and Bureau of Reclamation Pitch to Pilot Project

The Research & Development (R&D) team, led by Dr. Keisuke Ikehata Advanced Water R&D Manager of PACE, has developed a new photobiological process for the treatment of reverse osmosis (RO) concentrate to recover more usable water and reduce the volume of waste brine for disposal. This development resulted in the acceptance of two federal grant awards. On November 21st, 2016, PACE received a $100,000 grant award from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) through the Pitch to Pilot program. On December 6th, 2016, the second award was given to PACE for $225,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I program. PACE is conducting a series of bench- and pilot-scale experiments on this unique patented photobiological process that utilizes diatoms to rapidly remove inorganic scalants and nutrients and enhanced fresh water recovery from RO concentrate. The NSF SBIR Phase I study will focus on process optimization, organic matter characterization, and secondary RO feasibility. The USBR study will investigate the scale-up issue by designing, constructing, and operating a 1,500-gallon photobioractor at the USBR’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, NM. Our goal is to prove the effectiveness of the technology further to scale-up the process and apply it at a commercial scale with real life applications.