Membrane-based processes for wastewater nutrient recovery: Technology, challenges, and future direction

Ming Xie, Ho Kyong Shon, Stephen R. Gray, Menachem Elimelech

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

421 Citations (SciVal)


Wastewater nutrient recovery holds promise for more sustainable water and agricultural industries. We critically review three emerging membrane processes - forward osmosis (FO), membrane distillation (MD) and electrodialysis (ED) - that can advance wastewater nutrient recovery. Challenges associated with wastewater nutrient recovery were identified. The advantages and challenges of applying FO, MD, and ED technologies to wastewater nutrient recovery are discussed, and directions for future research and development are identified. Emphasis is given to exploration of the unique mass transfer properties of these membrane processes in the context of wastewater nutrient recovery. We highlight that hybridising these membrane processes with existing nutrient precipitation process will lead to better management of and more diverse pathways for near complete nutrient recovery in wastewater treatment facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-221
Number of pages12
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Ammonia recovery
  • Electrodialysis
  • Forward osmosis
  • Membrane distillation
  • Nutrient recovery
  • Phosphate recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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