Potential of dyes as draw solutions in forward osmosis for the south african textile industry

Marshall Sheldon*, Estella Zandile Jingxi, Debbie De Jager, Robyn Augustine, Jasmina Korenak, Claus Helix-Nielsen, Irena Petrinic

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The textile industry produces large volumes of wastewater that requires appropriate treatment before being released into the environment. Research globally has focused on advanced desalination technologies to augment the limited freshwater resources. Forward osmosis (FO) technology has gained substantial interest as a possible lower-energy desalination technology. However, challenges such as the availability of effective draw solutions (DS) have limited its implementation. This study evaluated alternative feed water resources and assessed the potential of dye solutions as DS. The aim is to dilute a concentrated dye DS to a target concentration for direct dye-batch use, thereby reclaiming water resources. The measured osmotic pressure (OP) of the alternative feed solutions (synthetic brackish water; syntethic seawater; seawater from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans; and wastewater from two textile factories) were 414, 2 761, 2 580, 2 614; 1 716 and 7 822 kPa, respectively. Three basic dyes (Maxilon Turquoise, Red and Blue) and three reactive dyes (Carmine, Olive Green and Black) were selected based on common use in the South African textile industry. The dye samples were prepared without and with salt at different concentrations and different dye-to-salt mass ratios ranging from 1:10 to 1:60. The OP trends for the basic dyes followed Blue >> Red > Turquoise and for the reactive dyes Black >> Olive > Carmine. The overall OP trend was Black > Olive > Carmine > Blue > Red > Turquoise. The OP at different dye concentrations and different dye-to-salt ratios was mostly influenced by the dye chemistry and molecular weight (Mw) rather than the type of dye, i.e., reactive vs basic.The OP trend for the dye-to-salt ratios was 1:60 > 1:50 > 1:40 > 1:30 > 1:20 > 1:10. For both the basic and reactive dyes a linear relationship exists between OP and dye concentration; as well as between OP and Mw. The dye DS exhibited larger OP compared to that of the FS evaluated, thus rendering them suitable DS.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWater S A (Online Edition)
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)258-268
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Water Resources
    • Water Treatment Techniques
    • Industrial Wastes Treatment
    • Seawater, Tides and Waves
    • Chemical Operations
    • Chemical Agents and Basic Industrial Chemicals
    • Synthetic and Natural Fibers; Textile Technology
    • Textile Mills, Machinery and Equipment
    • Draw solution
    • Dyes
    • Feed solution
    • Forward osmosis
    • Osmotic pressure
    • Textile industry
    • Textile wastewater
    • Desalination
    • Osmosis
    • Seawater
    • Textiles
    • Wastewater treatment
    • Water resources
    • Desalination technologies
    • Draw solutions
    • Fresh water resources
    • Linear relationships
    • Target concentrations


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