Forward osmosis membranes and processes: A comprehensive review of research trends and future outlook

Wafa Suwaileh, Nirenkumar Pathak, Hokyong Shon, Nidal Hilal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Recently, Forward Osmosis (FO) desalination process has been widely investigated as a potential technology that could minimize the drawbacks of traditional desalination processes. To review the past, current, and future research scope of the FO desalination process, a statistical analysis that gives insights on the FO topics of interest is needed to assist researchers in the development of the FO technology. The main objective of this work is to conduct a survey highlighting the general and specific research trends in FO technology topics. The level of research interest is quantified based on the number of publications in each area collected from Science Direct and Scopus databases from 1999 to 2020. This survey indicated an increasing number of publications on the FO processes and membranes technology. The topics of interest are fouling phenomenon, draw solutions, membrane fabrication and modification. Some potential research areas highlighted in this review to help researchers to further advance the FO technology. This review reveals that recycling the draw solution and energy consumption are the most important research areas that have shown growth in the number of publications over the last eight years. An increase of publications was also found in the treatment of the organic matter over the last decade. To further promote FO process in industry, developing FO membranes, optimizing the energy consumption, and establishing an effective recovery system are the most essential topics. Thus, the interest in this process is expected to be continued in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114455
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Desalination
  • Draw solution
  • Forward osmosis
  • Fouling
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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