A computer model, based on the equations formulated by Sourirajan and Matsuura (1985), has been used to analyse data generated by a tubular reverse osmosis (TRO) pilot-plant treating a cooling-tower blow-down stream at Lethabo power station near Sasolburg, South Africa. These data, covering more than 3 000 hours of operation over a period of 10 months, were examined in terms of the variation of modelling parameters, as determined by regression, with time. This transformation of the data has yielded valuable insight into the effect of the plant's operating history on the condition of the membranes. Furthermore, using the model to simulate the operation of a full-scale plant has made it possible to explore some of the implications that the pilot-plant measurements hold for an eventual design.
Simulation is not yet able to substitute for pilot-plant investigation, particularly in cases of complex and/or fouling streams such as are often encountered in industrial effluent treatment applications, but may be used.very effectively to enhance the quality of information gained from such studies.