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Effect of Powdered Activated Carbon to Reduce Fouling in Membrane Bioreactors: A Sustainable Solution. Case Study

DOI: 10.3390/su5041501

Keywords: membrane bioreactor, powdered activated carbon, municipal wastewater, fouling, pilot plant

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Abstract:

Membrane Bio Reactors (MBRs) are mainly used for industrial wastewaters applications where their costs can be more easily afforded. High costs are basically due to energy consumption and membrane cleaning or replacement. Membrane fouling is responsible for reducing treated water production and increasing maintenance as well as operation costs. According to previous researches, the addition of Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) in high dosages could reduce membrane fouling; but such concentrations are economically unsustainable for operative conditions. A MBR pilot plant, fed by mixed liquor of a full-scale activated sludge process from a municipal wastewater treatment plant, was operated dosing low PAC concentrations (0, 2, 5, 10 and 20 mg·L ?1, respectively). Experiments were also carried out at two different temperatures corresponding to summer and winter conditions. Results indicated that PAC addition was effective at the low dosages (2 and 5 mg·L ?1) by reducing the permeate flux loss (from 16 up to 27%, respectively) while higher PAC concentrations turns out in a useless cost increase.

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