Nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis in Water Treatment

Delft University of Technology Water Treatment with Reverse Osmosis

Target Audience

Water professionals (engineers or consultants) from the industry; technologists and innovators from water authorities, companies and anyone interested in membrane technology in drinking water production and industrial water treatment.


In this course participants gain hands-on experience on water treatment with reverse osmosis – a desalination technology with the lowest energy consumption. The course covers a diverse range of issues about the application of this technology, from the pre-treatment needed before reverse osmosis can be applied, to the removal of micropollutants and pathogens in the production of freshwater or water for industry. The course includes several video excursions to functioning reverse osmosis installations. Through these participants will experience the operation of a seawater installation, a brackish water installation and an industrial water treatment plant. In addition, participants will have access to the virtual (3D) laboratory experiment with a membrane pilot installation.

The course is delivered over a period of 7 weeks, with an estimated effort of 4 – 5 hours per week, and it is accredited by The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). Participants who successfully complete this course will earn a professional education certificate and be entitled to 30 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits as well.

Content and Schedule:

  • Module 1: Introduction to Reverse Osmosis
  • Module 2: Seawater Reverse Osmosis
  • Module 3: Brackish Water
  • Module 4: Scaling and pre-treatment
  • Module 5: Application of RO on freshwater and industrial water
  • Module 6: Biofouling and configuration of Spiral Wound Membranes for RO
  • Module 7: Concentrate, Permeate and Modeling of an RO installation

The course is open 24 hours a day so you can access the discussion forums and the course materials anytime. There are no fixed times, all communication will be asynchronous except for a small number of activities and assignments which will have weekly deadlines.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • Recognize and classify different types of membranes
  • Calculate the mass balances, recovery, rejection, pressure and water quality in a reverse osmosis (RO) installation
  • Describe the rejection mechanism of ions and organic compounds in the membrane system
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the application of RO
  • Explain different applications of RO membranes (seawater, brackish water and freshwater)
  • Explain different water flows and their routing in a membrane module
  • Explain the particulate and biological fouling in the membrane
  • Explain the concentration polarization mechanism and scaling problem
  • Calculate an RO unit and design a treatment plant including the RO unit as the heart (seawater, brackish or freshwater)

If you successfully complete this course you will earn a professional education certificate and you are eligible to receive 3.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

A 10% discount code is available for IWA members on IWA Connect, login to find out more.