Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Energy, Technology, and Policy

Committee Chair Name

Andrea Achilli

Committee Chair Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Second Committee Member Name

Kerri Hickenbottom

Second Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Third Committee Member Name

Kevin Fingerman

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Wastewater Utilization


A novel wastewater treatment system was investigated using forward osmosis membranes to treat municipal wastewater. Treatment by forward osmosis was determined to cost $10 million per million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater capacity over a 20-year lifetime, with an energy consumption of 870 kWh per million gallons. A case study at the Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant was conducted to investigate a treatment system that combines energy recovery from algae biomass with forward osmosis membrane treatment using local seawater as a draw solution. Total system cost was calculated to be $29.7 million over a 20-year lifetime with a 2.3 MGD capacity. Energy recovery was found to offset the parasitic energy requirements of the system and produce an excess of 1,200 MWh annually. This research demonstrates a proof-of-concept study on the techno-economic feasibility of forward osmosis membranes to (1) treat municipal wastewater and (2) concentrate wastewater for energy recovery via anaerobic digestion of algae biomass.

Citation Style