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Membranes 2017, 7(4), 68; doi:10.3390/membranes7040068

Study of Separation and Fouling of Reverse Osmosis Membranes during Model Hydrolysate Solution Filtration

Research Unit on Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development of the Forest Biorefinery, Chemical Engineering Department, Polytechnique Montreal, C.P. 6079 succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3A7, Canada
Centre National en Électrochimie et en Technologies Environnementales, Shawinigan, 2263, Avenue du Collège, Shawinigan, QC G9N 6V, Canada
Present Address: Natural Resources Canada, CanmetENERGY, 1615 Lionel-Boulet, C.P. 4800, Varennes, QC J3X 1S6, Canada.
Present Address: Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Université Laval, 2405 rue de la Terrasse, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 4 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Membrane Applications in Water Treatment)
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Prehydrolysate, a dilute solution consisting mainly of pentoses, hexoses, and lesser quantities of organic acids, furfural and phenolics, is generated in the Kraft dissolving pulp process. An obstacle facing the valorization of the solution in hemicellulose biorefineries, by conversion of the sugars into bioproducts such as furfural, is the low sugar concentration. Membrane filtration is typically proposed in several hemicellulose based biorefineries for concentrating the solution, although they are usually generated using different wood species, pretreatment methods, and operating conditions. However, the chemical composition of the solutions is generally not considered. Also, the combined effect of composition and operating conditions is rarely investigated for biorefinery applications. The purpose of this work was to determine the impact of the prehydrolysate composition and operating parameters on the component separation and permeate flux during membrane filtration. Using model prehydrolysate solutions, two commercial reverse osmosis (RO) membranes were screened, and one was selected for use, based on its higher sugar and acetic acid retention. A Taguchi L18 experimental design array was then applied to determine the dominant parameters and limiting factors. Results showed that the feed pressure and temperature have the highest impact on permeate flux, but the least effect on sugar retention. Further experiments to quantify flux decline, due to fouling and osmotic pressure, showed that furfural has the highest membrane fouling tendency, and can limit the lifetime of the membrane. Regeneration of the membrane by cleaning with a sodium hydroxide solution is also effective for reversing fouling. It has been demonstrated that RO can efficiently and sustainably concentrate wood prehydrolysate. View Full-Text
Keywords: prehydrolysate; reverse osmosis; filtration; furfural production; hemicelluloses biorefinery; Taguchi experimental design prehydrolysate; reverse osmosis; filtration; furfural production; hemicelluloses biorefinery; Taguchi experimental design

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ajao, O.; Rahni, M.; Marinova, M.; Chadjaa, H.; Savadogo, O. Study of Separation and Fouling of Reverse Osmosis Membranes during Model Hydrolysate Solution Filtration. Membranes 2017, 7, 68.

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