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. stability and cost of a membrane bioreactor (MBR). lawn watering. prevention of membrane fouling is still technical challenge. This paper describes major factors related to fouling as well as further research needs. sludge characteristics. resulting in high volumetric organic removal rate and compact reactor space. improving membrane materials and proper designing membrane module and reactor configuration.Research and Development of Controlling Membrane Fouling Abstract Many research works have been performed to explain the mechanisms governing the fouling of membranes and to ease fouling by pretreating feed water. pressure driven membrane processes have been . This rocess also presents several other advantages such as ease of handling. All above lead to the increasing costs on operation and maintenance (Fletcher et al. Despite these efforts.Fouling is a major problem influencing the operational performance. many researches have been done on membrane fouling in relationship to material characteristics. fouling still remains a main hindrance for efficient use of membrane systems. At present. etc. improving the antifouling properties of membranes. cleaning or cooling water on industrial sites. and reactor design. Many factors including operational parameters can affect the fouling process. During the past decades. sludge characteristics. During the past decades. Fouling decreases permeate flux and membrane lifespan. Viero et al. It is believed that MBR will become more and more popular in next decades. membrane fouling is a major technical issue for MBR process. the effluent of MBR can be reused for irrigation. This paper describes major factors related to fouling as well as further research needs. Membrane cleaning has been regular operational procedure and replacement of membrane is required when membrane fouling/clogging become irreversible . 2007). The membrane bioreactor (MBR) is a treatment system that combines both activated sludge process and membrane separation process. etc. In recent years. biological and enzymatic. and optimizing operating conditions. This paper describes major factors related to membrane fouling as well as further research needs. 2003. operational parameters. 2007. compact and lower excess sludge (Gui et al. many researches have been done on membrane fouling in relationship to material characteristics. and reactor design.. Biomass concentrations within MBRs can reach as high as up to 20 g/L. Jeison and Lier. For decades. 2007. however. thousands of MBR plants are operated over the world. The extent of fouling can be controlled by employing proper operational strategy. Because of the high efficiencies of removal of organic pollutants and separation by this process. The composition of wastewater and biomass grown in the MBR are directly related to fouling. toilet flushing and other purposes. Chemical cleaning is most commonly used method among the various cleaning methods including physical. 2007). operational parameters. Komesli et al... Chemical cleaning involves both chemical and physical interactions. INTRODUCTION Water shortage is a world-wide problem including China and most African countries. Like other membrane processes.
RO membrane modules are typically constructed as spiral-wound systems. Moreover. reverse osmosis (RO) process is widely used for desalination applications. safety. water treatment. In particular. Therefore. Chemical cleaning involves both chemical and physical interactions. the major drawback of the membrane cleaning process is membrane fouling which results in the reduction of flux and changes in the rejection of solutes.applied in a wide range of fields. . improving the antifouling properties of membranes. RO is part of a rapidly growing market as the demand for clean fresh water around the world continues to expand. the selected cleaning chemicals should have some characteristics such as chemical stability. medical. electrochemical. biological and enzymatic. Despite these efforts. such as chemical. Despite its several advantages. Many research works have been performed to explain the mechanisms governing the fouling of membranes and to ease fouling by pretreating feed water. consisting of multiple layers of membrane sandwiches separated by spacer sheets and coiled around a central perforated tube. Two chronological steps take place in chemical cleaning of the membrane: Chemical reaction between the cleaning chemical and the foulants in the fouling layer Mass transfer of the foulants from the fouling layer to the bulk solution. environment protection and separation process at room temperature. textile. Chemical cleaning is most commonly used method among the various cleaning methods including physical. which is controlled by hydrodynamics The effectiveness of cleaning chemicals strongly depends on the chemical reactivity of the cleaning chemicals because the second step of mass transfer can take place only after the foulant-foulant interactions have been weakened by the chemical reaction. petrochemical. Numerous studies have been demonstrated that effective cleaning chemicals eradicate or reduce significantly the foulant–foulant adhesion forces which sustain the structural integrity of the fouling layer on the membrane surface. high permeability to the water. The cleaning chemicals must be able to dissolve most of the precipitated materials and remove them from the surface of membrane with no surface damage. fulfilment of the most stringent regulations for public health. decreased production costs. the selection of cleaning chemicals that exhibit favourable chemical reaction with the target substances in the fouling layer is of vital importance. and optimizing operating conditions. fouling still remains a main hindrance for efficient use of membrane systems. low cost and ability to be washed with water. biotechnology and environmental industries. Membrane cleaning process possesses several advantages including high efficiency of the membranes in selective mineral rejection.
ceramics and porous glass zeolite. 2006. Inorganic membrane is semi-permeable film made by inorganic material such as metals. Asatekin et al. a cake forms on the surface of membrane. fluoropolymers. aromatic polyamide.. operational style and reactor hydraulic conditions. the operating issues not only include conventional factors such as biological and reactor kinetic parameters but also the parameters of membrane separation. As a result of the accumulation of particles from wastewater with a certain level suspended solids. design of modules and operational process quite differently effect on the wastewater treatment efficiency (Guglielmi et al.. Organic polymer membrane material includes: polyolefin. 2006). pore size and surface charge). metal oxides. inorganic content).. Temperature also influences the reactor operation. Currently.. and specific sludge loading rate. polyethylene. volumetric loading rate. Resistance as a consequence of adsorption in or on membrane is called fouling (Sombatsompop et al. PAN. 2007). The biological characteristics have greater im pact on MBR efficiency.. Both biological and membrane separation parameters are related to forming fouling (Hilal et al. Therefore. Kima et al. etc. and the parameters of membrane separation mainly affect the treatment ability. hydraulic retention time (HRT). PSF. The biochemical kinetics parameters are: sludge retention time (SRT). most full scale MBRs . 2007). this is called pore plugging. sludge concentration. Membrane material. 2004. When particles block the membrane pores. The parameters of membrane separation include inherent characteristics of membrane (membrane material. characteristics of mixed liquor (viscosity. MEMBRANE MATERIALS AND MODULE STRUCTURE Membrane materials Membrane materials can be divided into two types:organic and inorganic.MAJOR FACTORS AFFECTING FOULING MBR is composed of membrane separation modules and biological treatment unit.
hydrophobic membrane had higher flux than the hydrophilic one. You and Kwon (2000) found that under the same con-ditions. . B. A mass transfer solution–diffusion model has been extensively proposed in many. The model is mainly based on two parameters: the water permeability. influences the progress of fouling and membrane clean-up (Chen et al. A. According to our lab tests. The hydrophilicity and surface charge of membrane material. and the obstruction rate of the hydrophilic membrane hole is vulnerable to increase. to a certain extent. and hydrophobic membrane. Compared to hydrophobic membrane material. if its charge was the same to wastewater solution. Mass transfer solution–diffusion model Several researches have been directed towards modelling RO membrane module.use organic polymer membrane because of low cost. 2007). and the solute transport parameter. hydrophilic membrane material is apt to absorb certain proteins and carbohydrates. could slow down membrane fouling to a certain extent as a result of the resistance of the same charge.. the more hydrophobic the membrane is the higher flux and stronger anti-fouling performance. convenience of control and small aperture size.
and the concentration.2641C × (T* + 273)/(1. All these are usually specified by membrane manufactures.1 Qf = Qb + Qp QfCf = QbCb + QpCp The average feed flow rate per module (Qf) is limited for avoiding concentration polarization and excessive pressure drop. the permeate flow rate. In this model resistance of clean membrane and external fouling resistance are assumed in parallel.6 × 106 AS(∆P −∆Π) Cp = B(Co − Cp)/ A(∆P − ∆Π) Π = 0. (1/Q)=Kt + (1/Qa) . Qfmin ≤ Qf ≤ Qfmax Pb = Pf – δP In intermediate blocking model the number of blocked pore on surface is assumed to be proportional to the permeate volume but it is less restrictive in such a way that not every particle necessarily block the pores and particle may settle on other particle.∆P (MPa) is the difference of trans-membrane pressure. respectively. The corresponding material balance relationships for membrane unit are given by Fig 5.According to the model.0 × 106 – C) ∆P = (Pf + Pb)/2− Pp Co = (Cf + Cb)/2 where S (m2) is the module surface area. Qp (m3 h−1). Co and Cp denote feed average concentration and permeate concentration. Figure indicates a schematic representation of a membrane unit and the variables. are predicted as follows: Qp = 3. Cp (µL−1). ∆Π (MPa) is the difference of trans-membrane osmotic pressure. The pressure drop in the flow across each membrane unit is assumed to be constant.
The tube type and hollow-fiber type are widely used at full-scale MBR. The membrane module can be set inside or outside of the bioreactor. membrane is usually assembled in a basic unit in form of a certain shape.Module structure In order to facilitate the installation and industrialization. during biological treatment. spiralvolume. blocking membrane pores and decreasing permeate flux.Membrane commonly used in water and wastewater processes includes at least five types. hollow-fiber. improve the efficiency of separation. Temperature Temperature mainly influences the rate of bioreaction in . Operating process of MBR Generally. and achieve the high specific membrane area per volume. which is absorbed and deposited on the surface of membrane. results in a decrease of MBR performance. The former two types can be classified as flat membrane and latter three types as tube membrane. so it is of great importance to select the appropriate membrane module and the proper combination form in order to ensure the treatment efficiency. Different forms of module have their own advantages and disadvantages. thus MBR can be divided into two basic types: submerged MBR and sidestream MBR . This basic unit that completes the separation process is called membrane module. Microorganisms also grow on the membrane surface. Operating process has great impact on membrane fouling. that is. bio-substances like extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) can form colloid group. frame. fouling. For example. tube type. that is caused by the accumulation of suspended or precipitated solids on membrane surface or in the membrane pores. and capillary type.
process control and dealing with fouling. But this also results in higher energy consumption and higher operational cost. By changing surface charge. secretion. Increasing operating pressure or aeration strength is the most common method to enhance permeate flux. High energy consumption of MBR is one of the limiting factors of MBR development. Development of highperformance and low-cost organic membrane materials will help MBR to become more costeffective in the future. is the key to understand and control membrane fouling. Therefore. Microbial activity. research on fouling mechanism still continues in order to properly design reactor system. (3) The effect of biological toxicity of pollutants in MBR has received fewer studies. A large number of toxic substances seriously affect the microbial community and has been studied in other biotreatment systems such as activated sludge process. we may reduce energy consumption and decelerate fouling progress effectively. within a certain range. This will not only expand the application of MBR. the system flux increased as the temperature increased. Development of mathematical models for different MBR system will help to optimize the operational performance. 2007). Their impact on MBR should be studied. and develop new membrane with anti-fouling properties. improve operational performance. improvement in operating process or pretreatment of wastewater can slow down fouling progress to a certain extent but the membrane fouling can not be avoided completely due to microbial activity. the influence of temperature on membrane fouling is relatively slight. . If both the Transsmembrane pressure (TMP) and biomass concentration are constant. (4) At present. improvement of membrane materials and MBR process design will be an effective way to solve fouling problem and provide better costeffective treatment (Lee topics can be considered: (1) The mechanism on fouling has been studied for years. A little research has been done in modeling MBR.MBR. Generally. most operating issues of MBR are derived from the pilot studies or previous operational experiences. will cause a linear trend of increasing of permeate flux. degradation process. which mainly attributes to the lower viscosity of the mixed liquor at higher temperature. microbial species responsible to fouling as well as their ecophysiological role etc. further researches from many aspects on the mechanism of fouling. The research on fouling mechanisms.. but also enhance the biological activity and treatment efficiency. CURRENT RESEARCH TOPICS To date. which means treating different kinds of wastewater. Peng and Liu (2000) reported that under constant pressure conditions. product of metabolism and apoptosis will affect the permeability of membrane (Germain et al. for both inorganic and organic membrane. (2) More researches should be focused on characteristics of membrane materials (like surface charge. hydrophobicity) in order to develop anti-fouling materials. As we understand. More research works are still needed especially on fouling mechanism related to microbiology. especially on microbiology including the microbial community. the rise of system temperature.
Elimelech (2006).References:  Yan-yue. Elimelech(2006). J. Li. Desalination.198–210. Judd. M. M.  C. Jefferson (2003). S. Chemical and physical aspects of cleaning of organicfouled reverse osmosis membranes. Lee. Cleaning of ultrafiltration membrane after treatment of oily waste water. Characterization and control of foulants occurring from RO disc-tube-type. Lindau. G. M. 283-292.S. Chemical cleaning of biofouling in reverse osmosis membranes evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging. M. Desalination 151. Membrane for Industry Wastewater Recovery and Reuse.  J. Salt cleaning of organic-fouled reverse osmosis membranes. Coello-Oviedo. Kim. Lee. Environ. Sadhwani. Ang. Technol.M. M. Journal of Membrane Science Pages 7– 13  J.1134–1142. van Loosdrecht. J. J.  W. J. Vrouwenvelder. Chemical and physical aspects of cleaning of organicfouled reverse osmosis membranes. Lee. Science. A new method for the rapid titrimetric analysis of sodium alkyl sulphates and related compounds. S. Elimelec (2007). Sci. Ang.  W. Organic fouling and chemical cleaning of nanofiltration membranes: measurements and mechanisms. membrane treating.C. J.A. 71–78. Creber.R. 137–147. Water Research 41 . Elsveer Science Inc. M. Cleaning tests for seawater reverse osmosis membranes. New York.  S. Epton (1948). Membr. Lee (2002).L.. Elimelech (2004). Trans. 44 .D. Comparative studies of reverse osmosis membranes for wastewater reclamation. USA. 4683 –4693.  Q. M. S. Journal of Membrane Science. I. J.. process wastewater. Quiroga-Alonso (2001).S. Yoon. Faraday Soc.S.  S. Journal of Membrane Science. Yang-dong Hu (2006). Veza (2001). 139 177-182 S. 202–210. 38. M. fluorine manufacturing.  A. Journal of Membrane Science 198–210. A.  S.M. M. Desalination. López-Ramírez. 87 (3). Johns ( 2003). Jonsson (1994). Optimum design of reverse osmosis seawater desalination system considering membrane cleaning and replacing. 272 . B. T. 226-230 .
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