Nutrients Enrichment and Process Repercussions in Hybrid Microfiltration Osmotic Membrane Bioreactor: A Guideline for Forward Osmosis Development Based on Lab-Scale Experience

Khum Gurung, Morten Lykkegaard Christensen, Mika Sillanpää, Mohamed Chaker Ncibi, Mads Koustrup Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The effects of reverse salt diffusion through a forward osmosis membrane were studied in a microfiltration osmotic membrane bioreactor. The reactor was used to treat and simultaneously concentrate nutrients from wastewater. The system was operated at different draw solution concentrations, leading to varying salinity conditions. A relatively low, yet stable forward osmosis flux was observed regardless of increasing draw solution conductivities from 10 to 50 mS cm-1. A substantial increase in sludge conductivity from 5.7 to 19.8 mS cm-1 was observed during the operation. Batch transmembrane pressure-step experiments showed a decline in sludge filtration properties with increasing salinity buildup in sludge due to increasing deflocculation and associated release of protein and carbohydrate fractions of extracellular polymeric substances. Mathematical simulations showed that accumulation of total dissolved solids could mainly be attributed to reverse flux of salts from the draw solution rather than by the enrichment of incoming nutrients when forward osmosis membrane's salt permeability was high and water permeability low. Ideally, salt permeability below 0.010 L m-2 h-1 and effective water permeability above 0.13 L m-2 h-1 bar-1 are crucial to ensure enhanced nutrient enrichment and reduce sludge osmotic pressure, microbial inactivation, sludge deflocculation and membrane fouling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1098
JournalWater
Volume12
Issue number4
Number of pages18
ISSN2073-4441
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Fouling
  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Nutrients enrichment
  • Reverse salt flux
  • Salinity
  • Simulation

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