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Feasibility of antibiotic and sulfate ions separation from wastewater using electrodialysis with ultrafiltration membrane

Lu, Huixia, Zou, Wenxian, Chai, Ping, Wang, Jianyou, Bazinet, Laurent
Journal of cleaner production 2016 v.112 pp. 3097-3105
antibiotic residues, benzylpenicillin, bovine serum albumin, business enterprises, electrodialysis, equipment, fouling, freshwater, ion-exchange membranes, ions, profits and margins, salinity, sulfates, sustainable technology, toxicity, ultrafiltration, wastewater
Antibiotic wastewater is difficult to treat because of the toxic antibiotic residues and its high salinity. The ability of electrodialysis with ultrafiltration membrane (EDUF) process for penicillin G⁻ and SO4²⁻ ions separating from wastewater was evaluated to provide a technology for facilitating treatment of antibiotic wastewater and recovering antibiotic synchronously. A synthetic wastewater containing bovine serum albumin (BSA), SO4²⁻ and penicillin G⁻ ions was used as feed water of the EDUF system. The influence of applied current on performances of the EDUF process was investigated. Results indicated that BSA was effectively rejected by the ultrafiltration membrane (UFM) and remained in feed solution. Approximately 90% of SO4²⁻ ions in feed and antibiotic solutions were removed and concentrated in salt solution. 20.3% of penicillin G⁻ in the synthetic wastewater transported from feed to antibiotic compartments and were recovered under a constant current of 0.4 A. UFM and ion exchange membranes retained their integrity and no significant fouling was detected during the EDUF operation. The process cost is estimated to be 10.7 $ for recovering 1 kg with the laboratory-scale equipment. For an enterprise with a production capacity of 1000 ton y⁻¹, the EDUF process may be able to annually recover 203 tons of penicillin G from antibiotic wastewater, and save 203,000 m³ freshwater as well as reduce wastewater discharge amounts of 203,000 m³, generating annual profits of 6.85 million $. Thus, EDUF appears to be a competitive and clean technology to separate antibiotic and sulfate ions from wastewaters.