• Improved Membrane Filtration For Water And Wastewater Using Air Sparging And Backflushing

      Psoch, Christian (2005)
      The goal of this research was to investigate methods and techniques that enhance mass transfer through the membranes. Two general types of fluids were investigated: synthetic wastewater treated in a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and natural and simulated river water. For both fluids, a wide range of solid concentrations (up to 18 g/L) were tested. The membranes investigated were all tubular modules at pilot scale between 0.75 and 1.20 m length, with tubular diameters of 5.5--6.3 mm, 0.2 mum pore size, and membrane surface areas of 0.036--0.1 m2. For flux enhancement, two techniques were applied: air sparging (AS), and backflushing (BF). Both techniques were compared with the sponge ball cleaning method. The experimental temperature ranged between 10 and 30�C, cross-flow velocities (CFV) ranged between 0.5 and 5.2 m/s, and transmembrane pressure (TMP) ranged between 30 and 350 kPa. Research results showed, that AS was able to enhance the conventional flux over weeks to months up to factor of 4.5 for river water and a factor of 3 for wastewater. At modest CFV of 1.5--2 m/s, AS was as successful as BF. If higher CFV (up to 5.2 m/s) were supplied for BF, this technique could enhance the wastewater flux by factor 4.5. The supply of AS and BF combined was superior to the single application even at moderate CFV. The major finding of this research was that cake thickness on the membrane surface was decreased by AS, contrary to research by other authors. AS can be used as substitute aeration in MBRs, without impairing the degradation performance. The combination of AS and BF generated the least filter cake, but the lowest fouling was observed for AS. An empirical equation was proposed to calculate the viscosity in a sidestream MBR depending on reactor temperature and mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS).