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Analysis of backwashing efficiency in dead-end hollow-fibre ultrafiltration of anaerobic suspensions

Vera, Luisa, González, Enrique, Ruigómez, Ignacio, Gómez, Jenniffer, Delgado, Sebastián
Environmental science and pollution research international 2015 v.22 no.21 pp. 16600-16609
cakes, cleaning, fouling, suspensions, ultrafiltration, wastewater treatment
A novel dead-end mode operation for filtering anaerobic suspensions was investigated. In this mode, the filtration system automatically adjusted backwashing frequency to a preselected transmembrane pressure set-point. This paper discusses the effectiveness of the backwashing conditions on membrane fouling. Anaerobic suspensions from a conventional wastewater treatment plant digester were used as model suspensions for the trials carried out at lab-scale. Gas sparging aided backwashing significantly enhanced membrane cleaning efficiency. No effect of gas sparging on internal fouling was detected. Also, the cleaning efficiency linearly decreased with permeate flux. Nevertheless, due to a high increase in the reversible fouling, a reasonable net permeate flux (7.2–6.8 L/h m²) can be achieved when intermediate fluxes (12–16 L/h m²) were imposed and the higher transmembrane pressure set-point value (50 kPa) was applied. Both backwashing duration and flux exhibited similar influence on cake fouling removal for a given volume of permeate produced.