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Digestion performance and contributions of organic and inorganic fouling in an anaerobic membrane bioreactor treating waste activated sludge

Hafuka, Akira, Mashiko, Riho, Odashima, Ryuto, Yamamura, Hiroshi, Satoh, Hisashi, Watanabe, Yoshimasa
Bioresource technology 2019 v.272 pp. 63-69
cleaning, digestion, fouling, gas production (biological), membrane bioreactors, methane, microfiltration, sludge
This study evaluates the performance of an anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) digesting waste activated sludge. A digestion reactor equipped with an external hollow fiber microfiltration membrane module was operated in continuous-mode for 248 days. The system demonstrated 56% volatile solids degradation at an organic loading rate of 0.40 g-VS/(L·d) in 15 days of hydraulic retention time. The average methane content in the biogas produced was 76% which is considerably high compared to that from a typical continuously stirred tank reactor. The transmembrane pressure remained under 12 kPa without membrane cleaning during the experimental period due to low filtration flux (0.01–0.07 m/d) and cross-flow-mode filtration. Ex situ membrane cleaning revealed that physically irreversible fouling was the dominant form of membrane fouling. Inorganic and organic fouling accounted for 16% and 45% of total membrane fouling, respectively.