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Old March 5th, 2016, 11:55 AM
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Default Maximum Concentration on Membranes

I was looking at some instructions online for some ROs that on the market and some say to not concentrate to more than 8 brix. This is specifically for 4" membranes.

I could not find any DOW documentation on this, then I referred to my notes from Verona this year. The RO talk that CDL presented had these guidelines.

Rule of thumb:

1) Max concentration is 4 x initial sap %sugar (5X max) for 1 membrane

example: Start with 2%, 1 membrane, max would be 8 brix (or maybe 10)

2) 2 membranes --> 7X

3) 3 membranes --> 10X

4) 4 membranes --> 12X

Then I have in my notes. "*** 4" membrane should not exceed 8 brix max."

My first question is why is that? I have been generally not going past 8%. CDL did not mention this was specific to a particular membrane either.

My other question is would a recirculation pump allow me to have the first pass coming out of the concentrate line be a higher brix than without the recirculation pump. In other words, I think it would be more convenient to feed raw sap and immediately start boiling 8% rather than having to do a second pass.
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Old March 5th, 2016, 06:58 PM
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My RO has 2 membranes, each 4" x 40". I usually go from 2% in to about 8% out. Then I recirculate from the head tank and go from 8% up to 12-13% sugar. The highest my RO seems to handle is 15-16%, many that go to higher operating pressures get to 20% and even more. My Ray Gingerich RO is made to run at up to 300 PSI, I usually run at 275-280 for the above numbers.
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Old March 6th, 2016, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Sugarmaker View Post

Rule of thumb:

1) Max concentration is 4 x initial sap %sugar (5X max) for 1 membrane.
Urban this seems to fit the bill for our setup with one 4x40 membrane. Once we get to that 5% point it's really chugging to squeeze out any additional water. The largest run we've run through it was around 600 gallons and it was plenty dirty at the end. Perhaps the max concentration is so the membranes aren't getting over worked and potentially damaged?

Similar to what you said, I think we're going to add a second membrane to get those higher concentrations in one pass.
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Old March 6th, 2016, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHale View Post
Urban this seems to fit the bill for our setup with one 4x40 membrane. Once we get to that 5% point it's really chugging to squeeze out any additional water. The largest run we've run through it was around 600 gallons and it was plenty dirty at the end. Perhaps the max concentration is so the membranes aren't getting over worked and potentially damaged?

Similar to what you said, I think we're going to add a second membrane to get those higher concentrations in one pass.
Yeah I think this is really a flow issue. I definitely notice the membrane struggling with higher brix after a longer run.

I am still trying to figure out if an extra membrane or just a recirculation pump will be better. The recirculation adds much more flow and turbulence across the membrane to prevent premature fouling.
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Old March 6th, 2016, 01:15 PM
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2nd membrane will be more effective than trying to build recirculation in a 4in unit. With recirculation on a 4in you will not double your permeate flow. The recommend rates are where membranes slow down the flows below effective rates due to membrane fouling
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Old March 6th, 2016, 04:14 PM
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2nd membrane will be more effective than trying to build recirculation in a 4in unit.
In series or parallel?
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Old March 6th, 2016, 06:41 PM
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If your end goal is fastest water removal, then parallel. If you are looking for higher concentration levels per set time, then series.
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Old March 7th, 2016, 01:40 PM
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So do these RO units have the same membrane flush features that household units do so they can be flushed during usage or do you have to wait until season's end to break them down to clean membranes?
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Old March 7th, 2016, 07:30 PM
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You flush and clean them manually(not automated).
You are keeping the dirty stream where as in the house you keep the pure water stream. You will flush them after every use. Most also wash them after every use.
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Old March 7th, 2016, 09:09 PM
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Oh I get that they're backwards from a water RO unit, Sap. I haven't had a chance to play with one yet so I'm not familiar with the workings. I just didn't know if there was a way to flush the membrane during/after a run without having to tear a unit down.
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