Membranebioreactor with external membranes

C Jonkers, R Carrette, J De Lathouwer, C Thoeye
Mededelingen 2001, 66 (3): 87-93
The recent development of less expensive and more performant ultrafiltration membranes has generated a new concept in biological treatment known as membrane bioreactors (MBR). In the field of wastewater treatment, the MBR process is used as a modification of the conventional activated sludge (CAS) process, where the clarifier is replaced by a membrane module for the separation of the solid and the liquid phase. Membrane technology can, amongst others, be applied for the fast retrofit of relatively high loaded activated sludge systems to nutrient removal. In the last year Aquafin has built up extensive experience with submerged membrane systems. The research presented here was aimed at evaluating a particular external tubular membrane unit for MBR. More specifically it was evaluated whether higher stable flux levels could compensate the higher energy consumption, typical for external membrane systems. Both (1) treatment performance and (2) possible operational drawbacks were tested on a 5 m3/h activated sludge pilot-scale. The membrane bioreactor was tested in parallel with a conventional activated sludge system.

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