Special Issue "Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane"

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 May 2022) | Viewed by 8461

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jia Wei Chew
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Guest Editor
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637459, Singapore
Interests: fluidization; multiphase flow; membrane-based separation; particle technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Pierre LeClech
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: water and wastewater treatments by membrane processes; membrane fouling by biopolymeric materials; application of detailed characterization of macromolecular and particulate foulants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Chuyang Tang
grade E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
Interests: membrane technology; desalination; wastewater reclamation; water chemistry; environmental materials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Anja Drews
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
HTW Berlin, Department of Engineering II, School of Life Science Engineering, Wilhelminenhofstr. 75A, 12459 Berlin, Germany
Interests: membrane bioreactors; fouling; emulsion separation; organic solvent nanofiltration; enzyme processes; bioprocesses; wastewater treatment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is in honor of Professor Anthony (Tony) Fane, who does not need any introduction within the membrane community. His more than 500 peer-reviewed journal papers have garnered more than 50,000 citations and a h-index of 122, a testament to his dedication to the field of membrane science and technology through the decades. He has also pioneered two highly successful, world-renowned membrane research centers, namely, the UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology in Australia and the Singapore Membrane Technology Center.

Many of us have been very fortunate to collaborate with, receive mentorship from and befriend Professor Fane, witnessing his insatiable passion for membrane research. Despite his extraordinary achievements and international recognition, he is remarkably unassuming, humble and down-to-earth.

In honor and recognition of Prof. Anthony (Tony) Fane’s life-long scientific and educational contributions to the field of membranes, this Special Issue of Membranes welcomes the submission of original research manuscripts or reviews on all aspects of membranes. The deadline for submission is 15 December 2021. Manuscripts will be published online on an ongoing basis after due processing.

Dr. Jia Wei Chew
Dr. Pierre LeClech
Prof. Dr. Chuyang Tang
Prof. Dr. Anja Drews
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Membranes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
In-Situ Sludge Reduction Performance and Mechanism in Sulfidogenic Anoxic–Oxic–Anoxic Membrane Bioreactors
Membranes 2022, 12(9), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12090865 - 08 Sep 2022
Viewed by 349
Abstract
The excess sludge generated from the activated sludge process remains a big issue. Sustainable approaches that achieve in situ sludge reduction with satisfactory effluent quality deserve attention. This study explored the sludge reduction performance of sulfidogenic anoxic–oxic–anoxic (AOA) membrane bioreactors. The dynamics of [...] Read more.
The excess sludge generated from the activated sludge process remains a big issue. Sustainable approaches that achieve in situ sludge reduction with satisfactory effluent quality deserve attention. This study explored the sludge reduction performance of sulfidogenic anoxic–oxic–anoxic (AOA) membrane bioreactors. The dynamics of the microbial community and metabolic pathways were further analyzed to elucidate the internal mechanism of sludge reduction. Compared with the conventional anoxic–oxic–oxic membrane bioreactor (MBRcontrol), AOAS150 (150 mg/L SO42− in the membrane tank) and AOAS300 (300 mg/L SO42− in the membrane tank) reduced biomass production by 40.39% and 47.45%, respectively. The sulfide reduced from sulfate could enhance the sludge decay rate and decrease sludge production. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) destruction and aerobic lysis contributed to sludge reduction in AOA bioreactors. The relative abundance of Bacteroidetes (phylum), sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB, genus), and Ignavibacterium (genus) increased in AOA bioreactors compared with MBRcontrol. Our metagenomic analysis indicated that the total enzyme-encoding genes involved in glycolysis, denitrification, and sulfate-reduction processes decreased over time in AOAS300 and were lower in AOAS300 than AOAS150 at the final stage of operation. The excess accumulation of sulfide in AOAS300 may inactive the functional bacteria, and sulfide inhibition induced sludge reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
In-Situ Sludge Reduction in Membrane-Controlled Anoxic-Oxic-Anoxic Bioreactor: Performance and Mechanism
Membranes 2022, 12(7), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12070659 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 467
Abstract
Conventional and advanced biological wastewater treatment systems generate excess sludge, which causes socio-economic and environmental issues. This study investigated the performance of membrane-controlled anoxic-oxic-anoxic (AOA) bioreactors for in-situ sludge reduction compared to the conventional anoxic-oxic-oxic membrane bioreactor (MBRcontrol). The membrane units [...] Read more.
Conventional and advanced biological wastewater treatment systems generate excess sludge, which causes socio-economic and environmental issues. This study investigated the performance of membrane-controlled anoxic-oxic-anoxic (AOA) bioreactors for in-situ sludge reduction compared to the conventional anoxic-oxic-oxic membrane bioreactor (MBRcontrol). The membrane units in the AOA bioreactors were operated as anoxic reactors at lower sludge recirculation rates to achieve hydrolysis of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and extensive endogenous respiration. Compared to MBRcontrol, the AOA bioreactors operated with 90%, and 80% recirculation rates reduced the sludge growth up to 19% and 30%, respectively. Protein-like components were enriched in AOA bioreactors while fulvic-like components were dominant in MBRcontrol. The growth of Dechloromonas and Zoogloea genra was promoted in AOA bioreactors and thus sludge reduction was facilitated. Metagenomics analysis uncovered that AOA bioreactors exhibited higher proportions of key genes encoding enzymes involved in the glycolysis and denitrification processes, which contributed to the utilization of carbon sources and nitrogen consumption and thus sludge reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Determination of Compressibility and Relaxation Behavior of Yeast Cell Sediments by Analytical Centrifugation and Comparison with Deposit Formation on Membrane Surfaces
Membranes 2022, 12(6), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12060603 - 10 Jun 2022
Viewed by 550
Abstract
Separation of cells from produced biomolecules is a challenging task in many biotechnological downstream operations due to deposit formation of the retained cells, affecting permeation of the target product. Compression and relaxation behavior of cell deposits formed during filtration are important factors affecting [...] Read more.
Separation of cells from produced biomolecules is a challenging task in many biotechnological downstream operations due to deposit formation of the retained cells, affecting permeation of the target product. Compression and relaxation behavior of cell deposits formed during filtration are important factors affecting operational performance. The determination of these factors by flux or pressure stepping experiments is time- and labor-intensive. In this work, we propose a screening method by analytical centrifugation, which is capable of detecting small differences in compression and relaxation behavior induced by milieu changes, using a model system comprised of washed and unwashed yeast cells in the presence or absence of bovine serum albumin as a model target protein. The main effects observed were firstly the impact of pH value, affecting interaction of bovine serum albumin and yeast cells especially close to the isoelectric point, and secondly the effect of washing the yeast cells prior to analysis, where the presence of extracellular polymeric substances led to higher compressibility of the deposited cells. By comparing and validating the obtained results with dead-end filtration trials, the stabilizing role of bovine serum albumin in deposits formed at low pH values due to interactions with the yeast cells was underlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
A Novel Hybrid Reactor of Pressure-Retarded Osmosis Coupling with Activated Sludge Process for Simultaneously Treating Concentrated Seawater Brine and Wastewater and Recovering Energy
Membranes 2022, 12(4), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12040380 - 31 Mar 2022
Viewed by 650
Abstract
As an attractive way to deal with fresh water shortage, membrane-based desalination technologies are receiving increased interest. However, concentrated seawater brine, in needing further treatment, remains a main obstacle for desalination via membrane technology. Here, a hybrid technology integrating pressure-retarded osmosis with activated [...] Read more.
As an attractive way to deal with fresh water shortage, membrane-based desalination technologies are receiving increased interest. However, concentrated seawater brine, in needing further treatment, remains a main obstacle for desalination via membrane technology. Here, a hybrid technology integrating pressure-retarded osmosis with activated sludge process (PRO-MBR) was applied for simultaneously treating concentrated seawater brine and municipal wastewater. Performance of the PRO-MBR, including water flux, power density, contaminants removal, and membrane fouling was evaluated and compared at two different membrane orientations (i.e., active layer facing feed solution (AL-FS) mode and active layer facing draw solution (AL-DS) mode). During the PRO-MBR process, the municipal wastewater was completely treated regardless of the membrane orientation, which means that there was no concentrated sewage needing further treatment, owing to the biodegradation of microorganisms in the bioreactor. In the meantime, the concentrated brine of seawater desalination was diluted into the salinity level of seawater, which met the standard of seawater discharge. Owing to the high rejection of forward osmosis (FO) membrane, the removal efficiency of total organic carbon (TOC), total phosphorus (TP), ammonia nitrogen (NH4+-N), and total nitrogen (TN) was higher than 90% at both modes in the PRO-MBR. In addition, the PRO-MBR can simultaneously recover the existing osmotic energy between the municipal wastewater and the seawater brine at both modes. Compared with the AL-DS mode, the AL-FS mode took a shorter time and achieved a bigger power density to reach the same terminal point of the PRO-MBR owing to a better water flux performance. Furthermore, the membrane fouling was much more severe in the AL-DS mode. In conclusion, the current study demonstrated that the PRO-MBR at the AL-FS mode can be a promising and sustainable brine concentrate and municipal wastewater treatment technology for its simultaneous energy and water recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Retention and Fouling during Nanoparticle Filtration: Implications for Membrane Purification of Biotherapeutics
Membranes 2022, 12(3), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12030299 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 802
Abstract
One major challenge in the development of nanoparticle-based therapeutics, including viral vectors for the delivery of gene therapies, is the development of cost-effective purification technologies. The objective of this study was to examine fouling and retention behaviors during the filtration of model nanoparticles [...] Read more.
One major challenge in the development of nanoparticle-based therapeutics, including viral vectors for the delivery of gene therapies, is the development of cost-effective purification technologies. The objective of this study was to examine fouling and retention behaviors during the filtration of model nanoparticles through membranes of different pore sizes and the effect of solution conditions. Data were obtained with 30 nm fluorescently labeled polystyrene latex nanoparticles using both cellulosic and polyethersulfone membranes at a constant filtrate flux, and both pressure and nanoparticle transmission were evaluated as a function of cumulative filtrate volume. The addition of NaCl caused a delay in nanoparticle transmission and an increase in fouling. Nanoparticle transmission was also a function of particle hydrophobicity. These results provide important insights into the factors controlling transmission and fouling during nanoparticle filtration as well as a framework for the development of membrane processes for the purification of nanoparticle-based therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Layered Antibiofouling Composite Membrane for Quenching Bacterial Signaling
Membranes 2022, 12(3), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12030296 - 04 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
Bacterial quorum quenching (QQ) media with various structures (e.g., bead, cylinder, hollow cylinder, and sheet), which impart biofouling mitigation in membrane bioreactors (MBRs), have been reported. However, there has been a continuous demand for membranes with QQ capability. Thus, herein, we report a [...] Read more.
Bacterial quorum quenching (QQ) media with various structures (e.g., bead, cylinder, hollow cylinder, and sheet), which impart biofouling mitigation in membrane bioreactors (MBRs), have been reported. However, there has been a continuous demand for membranes with QQ capability. Thus, herein, we report a novel double-layered membrane comprising an outer layer containing a QQ bacterium (BH4 strain) on the polysulfone hollow fiber membrane. The double-layered composite membrane significantly inhibits biofilm formation (i.e., the biofilm density decreases by ~58%), biopolymer accumulation (e.g., polysaccharide), and signal molecule concentration (which decreases by ~38%) on the membrane surface. The transmembrane pressure buildup to 50 kPa of the BH4-embedded membrane (17.8 h ± 1.1) is delayed by more than thrice (p < 0.05) of the control with no BH4 in the membrane’s outer layer (5.5 h ± 0.8). This finding provides new insight into fabricating antibiofouling membranes with a self-regulating property against biofilm growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Permeate Flux in Ultrafiltration Processes—Understandings and Misunderstandings
Membranes 2022, 12(2), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12020187 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 654
Abstract
Concentration polarization refers to the rapid emergence of concentration gradients at a membrane/solution interface resulting from selective transfer through the membrane. It is distinguishable from fouling in at least two ways: (1) the state of the molecules involved (in solution for concentration polarization, [...] Read more.
Concentration polarization refers to the rapid emergence of concentration gradients at a membrane/solution interface resulting from selective transfer through the membrane. It is distinguishable from fouling in at least two ways: (1) the state of the molecules involved (in solution for concentration polarization, although no longer in solution for fouling); and (2) by the timescale, normally less than a minute for concentration polarization, although generally at least two or more orders of magnitude more for fouling. Thus the phenomenon of flux decline occurring over a timescale of tens of minutes should not be attributed to concentration polarization establishing itself. This distinction and a number of questions surrounding modelling are addressed and clarified. There are two paradigmatic approaches for modelling flux, one uses the overall driving force (in which case allowance for osmotic effects are expressed as additional resistances) and the other uses the net driving force across the separating layer or fouled separating layer, although often the two are unfortunately comingled. In the discussion of flux decline models’ robust approaches for the determination of flux-time relationships, including the integral method of fouling analysis, are discussed and various concepts clarified. The final section emphases that for design purposes, pilot plant data are vital. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Membrane Distillation Hybrid Peroxydisulfate Activation toward Mitigating the Membrane Wetting by Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
Membranes 2022, 12(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12020164 - 29 Jan 2022
Viewed by 894
Abstract
The fouling/wetting of hydrophobic membrane caused by organic substances with low-surface energy substantially limits the development of the membrane distillation (MD) process. The sulfate radical (SO4 ·)-based advanced oxidation process (AOP) has been a promising technology to [...] Read more.
The fouling/wetting of hydrophobic membrane caused by organic substances with low-surface energy substantially limits the development of the membrane distillation (MD) process. The sulfate radical (SO4 ·)-based advanced oxidation process (AOP) has been a promising technology to degrade organics in wastewater treatment, and peroxydisulfate (PDS) could be efficiently activated by heat. Thus, a hybrid process of MD-AOP via PDS activated by a hot feed was hypothesized to mitigate membrane fouling/wetting. Experiments dealing with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) containing a salty solution via two commercial membranes (PVDF and PTFE) were performed, and varying membrane wetting extents in the coupling process were discussed at different PDS concentrations and feed temperatures. Our results demonstrated permeate flux decline and a rise in conductivity due to membrane wetting by SDS, which was efficiently alleviated in the hybrid process rather than the standalone MD process. Moreover, such a mitigation was enhanced by a higher PDS concentration up to 5 mM and higher feed temperature. In addition, qualitative characterization on membrane coupons wetted by SDS was successfully performed using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The EIS results implied both types of hydrophobic membranes were protected from losing their hydrophobicity in the presence of PDS activation, agreeing with our initial hypothesis. This work could provide insight into future fouling/wetting control strategies for hydrophobic membranes and facilitate the development of an MD process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Phosphorus Recovery by Adsorption from the Membrane Permeate of an Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor Digesting Waste-Activated Sludge
Membranes 2022, 12(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12010099 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 631
Abstract
The recovery of phosphorus (P) from waste activated sludge (WAS) is a promising approach for sustainable resource management. During the anaerobic digestion of WAS, orthophosphate is released, and this P species is favorable for adsorption recovery. In the present study, an anerobic membrane [...] Read more.
The recovery of phosphorus (P) from waste activated sludge (WAS) is a promising approach for sustainable resource management. During the anaerobic digestion of WAS, orthophosphate is released, and this P species is favorable for adsorption recovery. In the present study, an anerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) with a P-adsorption column was developed to generate biogas from WAS and to recover P from membrane permeate simultaneously. The effects of the hydraulic retention time (HRT) and solid retention time (SRT) of the AnMBR on P solubilization were investigated. As a result, the maximum P solubilization was 21% when the HRT and SRT were 45 days and 100 days, respectively. Orthophosphate in the membrane permeate was adsorbed and recovered using a mesoporous material called zirconium sulfate–surfactant micelle mesostructure (ZS) in the column. The adsorbed P could be desorbed from the ZS with a NaOH solution, and P was recovered as a concentrated solution by a factor of 25. When the HRT was 19 days, the biogas yield and biogas production rate were 0.26 L/g-VSinput and 0.123 L/L/d, respectively. The average methane content in the biogas was 80%. The developed membrane-based process may be effective for resource recovery from WAS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Demonstration and Assessment of Purification Cascades for the Separation and Valorization of Hemicellulose from Organosolv Beechwood Hydrolyzates
Membranes 2022, 12(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12010082 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 558
Abstract
Hemicellulose and its derivatives have a high potential to replace fossil-based materials in various high-value-added products. Within this study, two purification cascades for the separation and valorization of hemicellulose and its derived monomeric sugars from organosolv beechwood hydrolyzates (BWHs) were experimentally demonstrated and [...] Read more.
Hemicellulose and its derivatives have a high potential to replace fossil-based materials in various high-value-added products. Within this study, two purification cascades for the separation and valorization of hemicellulose and its derived monomeric sugars from organosolv beechwood hydrolyzates (BWHs) were experimentally demonstrated and assessed. Purification cascade 1 included hydrothermal treatment for converting remaining hemicellulose oligomers to xylose and the purification of the xylose by nanofiltration. Purification cascade 2 included the removal of lignin by adsorption, followed by ultrafiltration for the separation and concentration of hemicellulose. Based on the findings of the experimental work, both cascades were simulated on an industrial scale using Aspen Plus®. In purification cascade 1, 63% of the oligomeric hemicellulose was hydrothermally converted to xylose and purified by nanofiltration to 7.8 t/h of a xylose solution with a concentration of 200 g/L. In purification cascade 2, 80% of the lignin was removed by adsorption, and 7.6 t/h of a purified hemicellulose solution with a concentration of 200 g/L was obtained using ultrafiltration. The energy efficiency of the cascades was 59% and 26%, respectively. Furthermore, the estimation of specific production costs showed that xylose can be recovered from BWH at the cost of 73.7 EUR/t and hemicellulose at 135.1 EUR/t. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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Article
Optimization of Aquaporin Loading for Performance Enhancement of Aquaporin-Based Biomimetic Thin-Film Composite Membranes
Membranes 2022, 12(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12010032 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
The aquaporin-based biomimetic thin-film composite membrane (ABM-TFC) has demonstrated superior separation performance and achieved successful commercialization. The larger-scale production of the ABM membrane requires an appropriate balance between the performance and manufacturing cost. This study has systematically investigated the effects of proteoliposome concentration, [...] Read more.
The aquaporin-based biomimetic thin-film composite membrane (ABM-TFC) has demonstrated superior separation performance and achieved successful commercialization. The larger-scale production of the ABM membrane requires an appropriate balance between the performance and manufacturing cost. This study has systematically investigated the effects of proteoliposome concentration, protein-to-lipid ratio, as well as the additive on the separation performance of ABM for the purpose of finding the optimal preparation conditions for the ABM from the perspective of industrial production. Although increasing the proteoliposome concentration or protein-to-lipid ratio within a certain range could significantly enhance the water permeability of ABMs by increasing the loading of aquaporins in the selective layer, the enhancement effect was marginal or even compromised beyond an optimal point. Alternatively, adding cholesterol in the proteoliposome could further enhance the water flux of the ABM membrane, with minor effects on the salt rejection. The optimized ABM not only achieved a nearly doubled water flux with unchanged salt rejection compared to the control, but also demonstrated satisfactory filtration stability within a wide range of operation temperatures. This study provides a practical strategy for the optimization of ABM-TFC membranes to fit within the scheme of industrial-scale production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Honorary Issue for Professor Anthony Fane)
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