Abstract

According to the World Bank's collection of development indicators, in 2017 approximately 25% of Malaysia's population were living in rural villages. Some of these villages are currently without electricity from the national grid and public piped water supply. In this study, a solar-powered ultrafiltration membrane water treatment system was installed at a rural village in Perak, Malaysia, to identify its feasibility. The ultrafiltration system was evaluated and compared with a conventional sand/media filtration water treatment system at the same location. Various aspects of both systems such as operational parameters, life-cycle cost and carbon emissions have been analyzed under this study. The distinct advantages of the ultrafiltration system include better filtrate turbidity quality (below 0.4 NTU), and lower operational cost and carbon emission. By utilizing a cross-flow filtration operation mode, the UF system does not require a daily intermittent backwash sequence, unlike the conventional system, to further simplify the daily operational routine. Accessibility of clean water supply for all has been heavily emphasized by the United Nations General Assembly (under sustainable development goal number 6) to ensure public health. This comprehensive study highlights the feasibilities of solar-powered ultrafiltration membrane water treatment systems for rural villages in Malaysia.

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