Conventional wastewater treatment methods are not efficient in treating wastewaters contaminated with volatile hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX). The aim of this study is to enhance the efficiency of an extractive membrane bioreactor (EMBR) in treating toluene contaminated wastewater by usage of pure culture of Alcaligenese faecalis. Toluene was used as a model of toxic contaminant because of its wide presence in wastewaters contaminated with petrol derivatives. The Haldane kinetic model adequately described the dynamic behavior of the toluene biodegradation by the strain of A. faecalis over a wide range of initial toluene concentrations (50–1,000 mg L−1) with kinetic constants μmax = 0.066 h−1, ks = 91.7 mg/L and kI = 278.2. Overall mass transfer coefficient has been measured and described as resistance in the series model. No biofilm formed on the exterior surface of the membrane; however in previous works the layer of the biofilm on the exterior surface of the membrane acts as a mass transfer resistance. A mathematical model was developed to predict the pollutant concentration profile along the tube side of the membrane modules.
Keywords: biodegradation kinetics, extractive membrane bioreactor, mathematical modeling, toluene, wastewater treatment