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Membrane scouring to control fouling under fluidization of non-adsorbing media for wastewater treatment

Aslam, Muhammad, Charfi, Amine, Kim, Jeonghwan
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.2 pp. 1061-1071
cleaning, colloids, energy, fouling, liquids, membrane bioreactors, operating costs, polyethylene terephthalates, wastewater treatment
Gas sparging is used as a traditional way to control membrane fouling in submerged membrane bioreactors (MBRs) in wastewater treatment. However, the gas sparging accounts for the largest fraction in operational cost to run the MBR systems. In this study, membrane fouling was controlled by integrating scouring media with gas sparging to reduce fouling rate at relatively low operational energy. Comparative study was performed using a fluidized membrane reactor treating synthetic feed solutions between polyethylene terephthalate (PET) scouring media (SM) fluidized by gas sparging (GS), liquid recirculation (LR), and combination of them to control membrane fouling. Addition of PET scouring media reduced the gas flow rate by 67% more with 30% less in fouling rate than gas sparing only. Combined usage of gas sparging and liquid recirculation to fluidize the PET scouring media (LR + GS + SM) showed 37% lower in fouling rate than that obtained by the scouring media fluidized by liquid recirculation (LR + SM) only through the reactor. The LR + GS + SM configuration reduced energy consumption by 90% more than that required by gas sparging alone. Mechanical cleaning driven by fluidizing PET scouring media could reduce membrane fouling due to removing deposit of inorganic particles from membrane surface effectively. However, the PET scouring media was not very effective to reduce membrane fouling caused by organic colloids which are expected to contribute pore fouling significantly.