Ceramic membranes are growing in acceptance into the water and wastewater treatment industries due to their ability to operate at higher temperatures and wide chemical compatibility. This characteristic allows the membranes to be operated in high temperature appli- cations, difficult waste streams and applications where harsh cleaning chemicals are required. Oil water separa- tion has been a difficult process to perform using a poly- meric membrane and ceramic membranes are becoming recognized as a cost effective solution for this challeng- ing application.
An automotive parts manufacturing plant was using a polymeric membrane to remove oil from water it used to rinse parts. The rinse water contained between 6% and 7% oil and the customer wanted to remove >95% of the oil from the water so the water could be reused in the plant. The polymeric membranes were irreversibly fouled and required replacement every two months. The plant started evaluating alternative membrane products to reduce the costly membrane replacement.
Due to the rigid material of construction and broad chemical resistance, ceramic ultrafiltration membranes were evaluated. Since the plant was already operating with a polymeric ultrafiltration membrane in a cross flow configuration they decided to install the membranes di- rectly into their manufacturing line to determine if the ceramic membranes were a viable alternative to their current membrane system.
The customer selected QUA CeraQTM membranes due to QUA’s experience in water and wastewater purification. The QUA CeraQ membranes are tubular and operate in an inside-out configuration. The tubular design reduces the permeate pressure drop and allows the system to op- erate at a lower pressure with a high permeate flux. The membrane is an alumina based ceramic membrane with a proprietary coating that ensures long service life and a high degree of permeate recovery.
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