Computational fluid dynamics simulations of membrane filtration process adapted for water treatment of aerated sewage lagoons

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The aim of this study is to apply the membrane bioreactor technology in an oxidation ditch in submerged conditions. This new wastewater filtration process will benefit rural areas (<5,000 population equivalent) subject to chronic water shortages by reusing this water for irrigation of green areas. For this purpose, the membranes developed without support are immersed in an aeration well and work in suction mode. The development of the membrane without support and more precisely the performance of spacers are approached by computational fluid dynamics in order to provide the best compromise between pressure drop/flow velocity and permeate flux. The numerical results on the layout and the membrane modules' geometry in the aeration well indicate that the optimal configuration is to install the membranes horizontally on three levels. Membranes should be connected to each other to a manifold providing a total membrane area of 18 m². Loss rate compared to the theoretical throughput is relatively low (less than 3%). Preliminary data obtained by modeling the lagoon provide access to its hydrodynamics, revealing that recirculation zones can be optimized by making changes in the operating conditions. The experimental validation of these results and taking into account the aeration in the numerical models are underway.

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