Submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment and energy generation

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Compared with conventional wastewater treatment processes, membrane bioreactors (MBRs) offer several advantages including high biodegradation efficiency, excellent effluent quality and smaller footprint. However, it has some limitations on account of its energy intensive operation. In recent years, there has been growing interest in use of anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) due to their potential advantages over aerobic systems, which include low sludge production and energy generation in terms of biogas. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of a submerged AnMBR for the treatment of synthetic wastewater having 4,759 mg/l chemical oxygen demand (COD). The COD removal efficiency was over 95% during the performance evaluation study. Treated effluent with COD concentration of 231 mg/l was obtained for 25.5 hours hydraulic retention time. The obtained total organic carbon concentrations in feed and permeate were 1,812 mg/l and 89 mg/l, respectively. An average biogas generation and yield were 25.77 l/d and 0.36 m3/kg COD, respectively. Evolution of trans-membrane pressure (TMP) as a function of time was studied and an average TMP of 15 kPa was found suitable to achieve membrane flux of 12.17 l/(m2h). Almost weekly back-flow chemical cleaning of the membrane was found necessary to control TMP within the permissible limit of 20 kPa.

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