Abstract: This study assessed the issue of membrane fouling in a Hybrid Membrane Process (HMP) due to the export of powdered activated carbon (PAC) fines from a pretreatment contactor. Two parallel pilot-scale ceramic and polymeric membranes were studied. Reversible and irreversible foulings were measured following three cleaning procedures: Physical backwashing (BW), chemically enhanced backwashing (CEB) and Clean-in-Place (CIP). The impacts on fouling of membrane type, operation flux increase and the presence/absence of the PAC pretreatment were investigated. Membranes without pretreatment were operated in parallel as a control. In addition, CIP washwaters samples were analyzed to measure organic and inorganic foulants removed from the membranes. It was observed that for the polymeric membranes, fouling generally increased with the presence of the PAC pretreatment because of the export of fines. On the contrary, the ceramic membranes were not significantly impacted by their presence. The analysis of CIP washwaters showed a greater total organic carbon (TOC) content on membranes with a PAC pretreatment while no similar conclusion could be made for inorganic foulants.
Abstract: Forward osmosis (FO) is a promising membrane technology to combine seawater desalination and water reuse. More specifically, in a FO-reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid process, high quality water recovered from the wastewater stream is used to dilute seawater before RO treatment. As such, lower desalination energy needs and/or water augmentation can be obtained while delivering safe water for direct potable reuse thanks to the double dense membrane barrier protection. Typically, FO-RO hybrid can be a credible alternative to new desalination facilities or to implementation of stand-alone water reuse schemes. However, apart from the societal (public perception of water reuse for potable application) and water management challenges (proximity of wastewater and desalination plants), FO-RO hybrid has to overcome technical limitation such as low FO permeation flux to become economically attractive. Recent developments (i.e., improved FO membranes, use of pressure assisted osmosis, PAO) demonstrated significant improvement in water flux. However, flux improvement is associated with drawbacks, such as increased fouling behaviour, lower rejection of trace organic compounds (TrOCs) in PAO operation, and limitation in FO membrane mechanical resistance, which need to be better considered. To support successful implementation of FO-RO hybrid in the industry, further work is required regarding up-scaling to apprehend full-scale challenges in term of mass transfer limitation, pressure drop, fouling and cleaning strategies on a module scale. In addition, refined economics assessment is expected to integrate fouling and other maintenance costs/savings of the FO/PAO-RO hybrid systems, as well as cost savings from any treatment step avoided in the water recycling.
Abstract: Tethered lipid bilayer membranes (tBLMs) have been used in many applications, including biosensing and membrane protein structure studies. This report describes a biosensor for anthrax toxins that was fabricated through the self-assembly of a tBLM with B. anthracis protective antigen ion channels that are both the recognition element and electrochemical transducer. We characterize the sensor and its properties with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. The sensor shows a sensitivity similar to ELISA and can also be used to rapidly screen for molecules that bind to the toxins and potentially inhibit their lethal effects.
Abstract: In this study, flat sheet asymmetric polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) ultrafiltration membranes with enhanced antifouling properties were prepared with a non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) method through compound additives containing a polymeric pore-forming agent, a small molecular non-solvent and a surfactant. The formation processes of the porous asymmetric membranes with different kinds of additives were studied in detail, and the microstructure controllable preparation of membrane was achieved by establishing a bridge between the membrane preparation parameters and separation performances. All prepared membranes were characterized by using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), contact angle analysis, porosity, maximum pore size, water and BSA solution permeability studies. The performance efficiency of the membrane was evaluated by using BSA as a model foulant in terms of permeability, solute rejection (R), Rm (membrane inherent resistance), Rc (cake layer resistance), and Rp (pore plugging resistance). The results showed that when the compound additives were used, the inter-connected pores were observed, maximum pore size, contact angle and membrane filtration resistance decreased, while the porosity increased. When PVP compound additives were added, the water flux increased from 80.4 to 148.1 L/(m2·h), the BSA rejection increased from 53.2% to 81.5%. A similar trend was observed for membranes with added PEG compound additives; the water flux and BSA rejection simultaneously increased. The filtration resistance decreased as a result of compound additives. The uniformity of membrane and the number of effective pores could be enhanced by adding compound additives through the cooperation of different additives.
Abstract: An oscillatory emulsification system for the production of oil in water emulsions using a commercially available low-cost woven metal microscreen (WMMS) is investigated. The system allows for independent control of both the oscillation frequencies and amplitudes such that it provides two degrees of freedom for controlling the emulsion properties. The investigations included the production of both surfactant and particle-stabilized emulsions. The average droplet size was found to decrease when both the oscillation frequency and amplitude was increased. For surfactant-stabilized emulsions, using bi-surfactants in both the continuous and dispersed phases resulted in a smaller droplet size due to lower interfacial tension. For particle-stabilized emulsions, both the hydrodynamics of the system and the hydrophobic and hydrophilic nature of the stabilizing particles influenced the interfacial properties at the oil–water interface, which in turn affected the final droplet size and distribution with potential droplet breakage. In absence of the latter, a simple torque balance model can be used to reasonably predict the average emulsion droplet size.
Abstract: The membrane bioreactor (MBR) has emerged as an efficient compact technology for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. The major drawback impeding wider application of MBRs is membrane fouling, which significantly reduces membrane performance and lifespan, resulting in a significant increase in maintenance and operating costs. Finding sustainable membrane fouling mitigation strategies in MBRs has been one of the main concerns over the last two decades. This paper provides an overview of membrane fouling and studies conducted to identify mitigating strategies for fouling in MBRs. Classes of foulants, including biofoulants, organic foulants and inorganic foulants, as well as factors influencing membrane fouling are outlined. Recent research attempts on fouling control, including addition of coagulants and adsorbents, combination of aerobic granulation with MBRs, introduction of granular materials with air scouring in the MBR tank, and quorum quenching are presented. The addition of coagulants and adsorbents shows a significant membrane fouling reduction, but further research is needed to establish optimum dosages of the various coagulants/adsorbents. Similarly, the integration of aerobic granulation with MBRs, which targets biofoulants and organic foulants, shows outstanding filtration performance and a significant reduction in fouling rate, as well as excellent nutrients removal. However, further research is needed on the enhancement of long-term granule integrity. Quorum quenching also offers a strong potential for fouling control, but pilot-scale testing is required to explore the feasibility of full-scale application.