The 4 different designs of forward osmosis (FO) membrane modules

Forward osmosis membrane modules

An overview of the 4 different types of forward osmosis (FO) membrane modules

Forward osmosis membrane modules

FO membrane modules come in 4 generic design variants, namely the plate & frame module, the spiral wound module, the tubular module, and the hollow fibre module. Arguably, the tubular module and the hollow fibre module are quite similar in as much as the only difference between them is the inner dimensions of their tubular/hollow fibre membrane components. Nevertheless, here, the designs are treated separately  because they potentially cater to different application areas.

In the following article series, each FO membrane module design is introduced and characterized according to the following criteria:

  1. Achievable packing density (i.e. active membrane area per inner unit volume of the module)
  2. Industrial application areas

The packing density has been chosen as a characterization criteria because it significantly contributes to the overall footprint of an FO system (smaller packing density = larger FO system footprint and vice versa).

Please refer to the links below for detailed descriptions of each forward osmosis module design:

  1. Plate and frame forward osmosis membrane modules
  2. Spiral wound forward osmosis membrane modules
  3. Tubular forward osmosis membrane modules
  4. Hollow fiber forward osmosis membrane module

5 thoughts on “The 4 different designs of forward osmosis (FO) membrane modules

  1. Paul H says:

    Hi ForwardOsmosisTech

    Nice overview of forward osmosis module designs. I wish you had included some information on when the different modules will become commercially available and – more importantly – what prices and sizes they will come in. Any thoughts on this?



  2. Ed Woode says:

    June 2nd 2019 comment

    As Erik rightly points out below, there are now several suppliers of industrial forward osmosis elements:

  3. Porifera (modified plate and frame)
  4. Aquaporin (hollow fiber)
  5. Toyobo (hollow fiber)
  6. FTSH2 (spiral wound)
  7. Toray/CSM (spiral wound)
  8. March 30th 2014 comment

    Hi Paul

    Thanks for taking the time to read our overview of forward osmosis modules. We believe flat sheet and spiral wound FO modules are currently commercially available only from Hydration Technology Innovations. Porifera and Kymen claim to have FO elements for sale, but there are very little price and ordering information on their website. Other future FO membrane producers such as Oasys and Aquaporin still seem to be a couple of years away from industrial scale production. Our expectation is that the majority of industrial FO module products will initially belong to the plate and frame and spiral wound configurations.

    Keep the questions rolling!


  9. says:

    hi i want to get full get this e ebook how can i get this. i already join by email, please tell me how to download this book

  10. Erik Desormeaux says:

    The information about these different element types is general, outdated, and not all relevant to current FO technology.

    OASYS and Hydration Technology Innovations no longer exist. Porifera (modified plate and frame), Aquaporin (hollow fiber), Toyobo (hollow fiber), FTSH2 (spiral wound), and Toray/CSM (spiral wound) all sell commercial ready elements and/or modules. Check out the websites for these companies to learn more.

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