Original Article

Applied Water Science

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 11-17

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

An ambitious step to the future desalination technology: SEAHERO R&D program (2007–2012)

  • Suhan KimAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, Pukyong National University
  • , Byung Soo OhAffiliated withEmerging Technology Lab., Eco Group, LG Electronics
  • , Moon-Hyun HwangAffiliated withCenter for Seawater Desalination Plant
  • , Seungkwan HongAffiliated withSchool of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, Korea University
  • , Joon Ha KimAffiliated withSchool of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology
  • , Sangho LeeAffiliated withSchool of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Kookmin University
  • , In S. KimAffiliated withCenter for Seawater Desalination PlantSchool of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology Email author 


In Republic of Korea, seawater engineering and architecture of high efficiency reverse osmosis (SEAHERO) research and development (R&D) program started from 2007 to lead the top seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant technologies for desalination with the fund of US $165 million for 6 years including test-bed plant construction. There are three technical strategies for SEAHERO R&D program called 3L, which represents large scale, low fouling, and low energy, respectively. Large scale means design, construction, and operation of the largest unit SWRO train [daily water production rate = 8 MIGD (36,000 m3/day)] in the world. Low-fouling strategy targets the decrease of RO membrane fouling by 50%. The specific target for low energy is total energy consumption of whole SWRO plant (including intake, pretreatment, SWRO systems, and so on) less than 4 kWh/m3. The core parts for SWRO plant, such as 16 in. diameter RO membrane and energy recovery device, were developed and will soon be introduced to a test-bed including the largest unit SWRO train. The next step of SEAHERO is real field scale test-bed application of the unit technologies developed for the past 4 years (2007–2010) such as strategic pretreatment, energy-saving technology, and reliable system monitoring.


Desalination Reverse osmosis SEAHERO Large scale Low fouling Low energy