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Development of a novel anaerobic membrane bioreactor simultaneously integrating microfiltration and forward osmosis membranes for low-strength wastewater treatment

Wang, Xinhua, Wang, Chen, Tang, Chuyang Y., Hu, Taozhan, Li, Xiufen, Ren, Yueping
Journal of membrane science 2017 v.527 pp. 1-7
activated carbon, adsorption, artificial membranes, biofouling, biogas, confocal laser scanning microscopy, energy, energy recovery, ionic strength, membrane bioreactors, methane production, microbial activity, microfiltration, microorganisms, osmosis, phosphorus, polysaccharides, proteins, salinity, wastewater, wastewater treatment, water quality, water reuse
Anaerobic osmotic membrane bioreactor (AnOMBR) has aroused growing interests for its low energy demand, ability to efficiently process low ionic strength wastewater and high effluent quality. However, salt accumulation remains a main obstacle for causing severe water flux decline, fouling aggravation and inhibitory on the microbial activity. Here, we report a novel microfiltration (MF) assisted AnOMBR (AnMF-OMBR) for mitigating salt accumulation. The results indicated that the MF membrane effectively prevented salt accumulation in the bioreactor. The stable salinity level (within the range of 2.5–4.0mS/cm) enabled the AnMF-OMBR to achieve a long-term continuous operation together with a higher methane production in comparison with a conventional AnOMBR. The forward osmosis (FO) permeate from the AnMF-OMBR had excellent water quality, while the MF permeate required further treatment (e.g., phosphorus precipitation and activated carbon adsorption) before its beneficial reuse. A thick fouling layer combining biofouling and inorganic scaling was existed on the FO membrane. Further confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) revealed the dominance of polysaccharides and microorganisms over proteins. The current study demonstrated that the AnMF-OMBR can be a promising and sustainable wastewater treatment technology for its simultaneous energy recovery (in the form of biogas) and water reuse (from both FO and MF membranes).