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Two-way switch: Maximizing productivity of tilted panel in membrane bioreactor

Eliseus, A., Bilad, M.R., Nordin, N.A.H.M., Khan, Asim L., Putra, Z.A., Wirzal, M.D.H., Aslam, Muhammad, Aqsha, A., Jaafar, J.
Journal of environmental management 2018 v.228 pp. 529-537
aeration, air, bubbles, carbon footprint, energy efficiency, fouling, membrane bioreactors
Membrane fouling is a major challenge in membrane bioreactors (MBRs) and its effective handling is the key to improve their competitiveness. Tilting panel system offers significant improvements for fouling control but is strictly limited to one-sided panel. In this study, we assess a two-way switch tilting panel system that enables two-sided membranes and project its implications on performance and energy footprint. Results show that tilting a panel improves permeance by up to 20% to reach a plateau flux thanks to better contacts between air bubbles and the membrane surface to scour-off the foulant. A plateau permeance could be achieved at aeration rate of as low as 0.90 l min⁻¹, a condition untenable by vertical panel even at twice of the aeration rate. Switching at short periods (<5min) can maintain the hydraulic performance as in no-switch (static system), enables application of a two-sided switching panel. A comparison of vertical panel under 1.80 l min⁻¹ aeration rate with a switching panel at a half of the rate, switched at 1 min period shows ≈10% higher permeance of the later. Since periodic switching consumes a very low energy (0.55% of the total of 0.276 kWh m⁻³), with reduction of aeration by 50%, the switching tilted panel offers 41% more energy efficient than a referenced full-scale MBR (0.390 kWh m⁻³). Overall results are very compelling and highly attractive for significant improvements of MBR technologies.