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Fouling control mechanisms in filtrating natural organic matters by electro-enhanced carbon nanotubes hollow fiber membranes

Yang, Yue, Qiao, Sen, Jin, Ruofei, Zhou, Jiti, Quan, Xie
Journal of membrane science 2018 v.553 pp. 54-62
artificial membranes, bovine serum albumin, carbon nanotubes, cathodes, chemical oxygen demand, electric power, electrochemistry, fouling, gels, membrane bioreactors, microfiltration, pollutants, sodium alginate
Membrane fouling is a ubiquitous and costly problem for membrane bioreactor (MBR) that usually deteriorated membrane performance. Applied voltage on membrane is an important strategies mitigating the fouling. To evaluate antifouling mechanisms of electro-enhanced carbon nanotubes hollow-fiber membranes (CNTs-HFMs), the removal of bovine serum albumin (BSA), sodium alginate (SA) and supernatant of anaerobic bioreactor (SAB) were performed. The results showed that the optimal applied voltage (− 1.2 V) could effectively reduce membrane fouling from excluding the negative pollutants far away from the membrane surface, offering an impediment on forming gel layer and controlling the formation of high-molecular-weight pollutants. The effluent COD removal efficiencies by filtrating BSA (92.1%), SA (87.3%) and SAB (56.8%) at − 1.2 V were 3.3, 1.4 and 1.5 times higher than that of membrane filtration alone. Then, a short-term experiment (30 days) was performed, where CNTs-HFMs served dual function as the cathode and filtration function in an electro-enhanced anaerobic bioreactor (AnEMBR). The results presented that a low transmembrane pressure of 0.35 bar was obtained compared to the control reactor (0.60 bar), implying that applied voltage on CNTs-HFMs contributed to alleviate membrane fouling. This work implied that electrochemical control might provide a promising avenue to mitigate membrane fouling in MBR.