Water recovery from sewage using forward osmosis

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This research is part of the Sewer Mining project aimed at developing a new technological concept by extracting water from sewage by means of forward osmosis (FO). FO, in combination with a reconcentration system, e.g. reverse osmosis (RO) is used to recover high-quality water. Furthermore, the subsequent concentrated sewage (containing an inherent energy content) can be converted into a renewable energy (RE) source (i.e. biogas). The effectiveness of FO membranes in the recovery of water from sewage has been evaluated. Stable FO water flux values (>4.3 LMH) were obtained with primary effluent (screened, not treated) used as the feed solution. Fouling of the membrane was also induced and further investigated. Accumulated fouling was found to be apparent, but not irreversible. Sewer Mining could lead to a more economical and sustainable treatment of wastewater, facilitating the extraction of water and energy from sewage and changing the way it is perceived: not as waste, but as a resource.

Keywords: digestion, energy, forward osmosis, reuse, Sewer Mining, water

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