IWA Publishing

Characterization of ultrafiltration of undiluted and diluted stored urine

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Urine ultrafiltration (UF) was studied in terms of flux, permeability, resistance and fouling. Two types of samples were used: stored urine representing the feedstock obtained from urine diversion dry toilets; and diluted stored urine representing the feedstock obtained from urinals. Three different filtration experiment sets were adopted in this study. For the first case, pressure was set in an ascending order, i.e. from 10 to 60 kPa during filtration of stored urine. For the second case, pressure was set in a descending order, i.e. from 60 to 10 kPa for the same feed stream. The third case involved filtration of diluted urine with pressure in ascending order, i.e. from 10 to 60 kPa. The results indicated that diluted urine had higher flux than undiluted urine with maximum values of 43 and 26 L·m−2·h−1 respectively. Cake formation was the dominating fouling mechanism during urine filtration with a contribution of about 90% to the total hydraulic resistance. The contribution of chemically irreversible fouling was low (−2%), unless operating from high to low pressures. Indeed, irreversible fouling appeared to be greater during the experiments starting at higher pressure. Although undiluted urine had a higher fouling potential compared to diluted urine, the specific cake resistance was higher for diluted urine, probably due to a denser cake caused by lower particle sizes in that sample. The permeate obtained after urine filtration had much lower suspended solids content compared to the feedstock, with rejections up to 99%. The concentration of the ionic species remained unchanged, and 75% of the organic compounds and dissolved solids remained in the permeate. Urine UF could then be used as pre-treatment to remove suspended solids.

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