A review on pulp and paper industrial membrane processes using a variety of modules and processes is presented. Membranes are mostly used today to purify process waters and to recover coating colours. Ultrafiltration using tubular membrane modules or cross-rotational (CR) filtration has been widely applied for the purification of process waters. The reuse of UF membrane permeate has decreased the fresh water consumption to lower than 6 m3/t of paper in some paper machines. Some industrial membrane processes also recover valuable products from different streams (e.g lignosulphonates). Membranes are also combined with biological degradation processes in some paper mills. Nanofiltration has been used to purify the effluents discharged from the activated sludge process. At least two reverse osmosis plants purify river water to be used as raw water in the mill. Furthermore, advantages of different membrane modules and the current ways to treat membrane concentrate are discussed.
Keywords: concentrate, membrane filtration, membrane modules, pulp and paper industry