Preliminary study on a novel osmotic membrane bioreactor (OMBR) was explored. Objective of this study was to investigate the effects of draw solution on membrane flux and air scouring at the feed side on fouling tendency in a pilot OMBR system composing the anoxic/aerobic and forward osmosis (FO) processes. Domestic sewage was the raw feed, FO membrane from HTI and NaCl/MgSO4 draw solutions were used in the experiments. Fluxes of 3 l/m2/h (LMH) and 7.2 LMH were achieved at osmotic pressure of 5 and 22.4 atm, respectively. No significant flux decline was observed at 3 LMH over 190 h and at 7.2 LMH over 150 h when air scouring was provided at the feed side of the membrane. However, without air scouring, the flux at 22.4 atm osmotic pressure declined by 30% after 195 h and then levelled off. The potential advantages of the fouling reversibility with air scouring under the operating conditions of the pilot OMBR and better water quality in OMBR over the conventional MBR were preliminarily demonstrated.
Keywords: air scouring, draw solution, forward osmosis, fouling, membrane bioreactor, water reuse