Evaluation and mapping of sustainable water and wastewater treatment with membrane processes in South Africa and Sweden

Project: ResearchInternational collaboration

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Water Treatment


  • Membranes, Drinking water, Wastewater treatment


Not only on a global scale but also for both South Africa and Sweden safe and affordable water combined with effective wastewater treatment is essential for a sustainable water cycle. In recent years, membrane technology has developed itself as key technology in current and future drinking water preparation and wastewater treatment concepts. This trend is clearly shown with Singapore as the leading country on a global base but it is also reflected in the local trends in South Africa and Sweden. In particular, Sweden is currently taking a strong position in this trend with the installation of the membrane units for drinking water preparation at Lackarebäck - one of the 20 largest ultrafiltration plants in the world - and the membrane bioreactor for municipal wastewater treatment under construction at Henriksdal - the largest plant in the world. Both installations can be seen as clear indications of a shift in the Swedish water industry towards membranes. This is caused by the need of using innovative, sustainable technologies to meet increasing requirements for drinking water quality and introducing new more stringent requirements for treated wastewater. Both membrane bioreactors (MBRs) and membrane aerated biofilm reactors (MABRs) are planned to be introduced at many wastewater treatment plants both for big cities and smaller municipalities. In South Africa this trend is highlighted by the commissioning of the new reverse osmosis desalination plant in Cape Town, following Mossel Bay and Richards Bay, which came on line in January 2017. However, apart from these large scale installations there is a foreseeable need for installation in smaller communities in both countries, which further underlines the common perspective of this project. Hence, one of the outcome of the project “Evaluation and mapping of sustainable water and wastewater treatment with membrane processes in South Africa and Sweden” will be not only to map, evaluate and share large scale experience but also to look at scale-down experiences to meet the requirements of the smaller local communities.
Effective start/end date2019/11/012020/08/15

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Joint applicant)
  • Vaal University of Technology (Joint applicant)
  • University of the Witwatersrand (Joint applicant)


  • Frank Lipnizki - Department of Chemical Engineering (Researcher)
  • Richards, Heidi - University of the Witwatersrand (Researcher)
  • Plaza , Elzbieta - KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Researcher)
  • Pakade , Vusumzi - Vaal University of Technology (Researcher)