Recovery of methane from anaerobic process effluent using poly-di-methyl-siloxane membrane contactors

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This paper demonstrates the potential for recovering dissolved methane from low temperature anaerobic processes treating domestic wastewater. In the absence of methane recovery, ca. 45% of the produced methane is released as a fugitive emission which results in a net carbon footprint of −0.47 kg CO2e m−3. A poly-di-methyl-siloxane (PDMS) membrane contactor was applied to support sweep gas desorption of dissolved methane using nitrogen. The dense membrane structure controlled gaseous mass transfer thus recovery was maximised at low liquid velocities. At the lowest liquid velocity, VL, of 0.0025 m s−1, 72% of the dissolved methane was recovered. A vacuum was also trialled as an alternative to sweep-gas operation. At vacuum pressures below 30 mbar, reasonable methane recovery was observed at an intermediate VL of 0.0056 m s−1. Results from this study demonstrate that dissolved methane recovery could increase net electrical production from low temperature anaerobic processes by ca. +0.043 kWhe m−3 and reduce the net carbon footprint to +0.01 kg CO2e m−3. However, further experimental work to optimise the gas-side hydrodynamics is required as well as validation of the long-term impacts of biofouling on process performance.

Keywords: anaerobic effluent, de-gassing, desorption, dissolved methane, methane recovery, PDMS

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