Strategy for Flux Enhancement in Biofilm Ceramic Membrane Bioreactor Applying Prepolymerized and Non-Prepolymerized Inorganic Coagulants
Considering new legislative and economic restrictions caused by the water crisis, this work focuses on a more efficient wastewater treatment process, which combines biological treatment in a moving bed biofilm system with a membrane bioreactor (BF-MBR) and coagulation, particularly addressing fouling alleviation in the separation stage. The study justifies the positive impact of coagulant dosing in BF-MBR regarding membrane flux and fouling rate. Statistical techniques connect the results of coagulation and membrane separation experiments with properties of mixed liquor, obtained after biotreatment in the representative pilot plant and characteristics of prepolymerized and non-prepolymerized inorganic coagulants. Research results substantiate the need for a pH-controlled coagulation of mixed liquor in BF-MBR depending on coagulant type, which influences charge, hydrophobicity and size of flocs and organic content of the system. It is suggested, that the adsorption/charge neutralization mechanism dominates in flux enhancement in BF-MBR, giving the best results in the case of prepolymerized aluminium coagulants. Together with high quality of permeate, the application of prepolymerized aluminium chloride of medium basicity entails a tenfold increase in filtration time of the membrane separation cycle and increases net membrane flux by 30–56%. The results of the study are practically significant for the development of an automated control system for BF-MBR, optimizing treatment rates together with membrane separation efficiency.
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