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    MEMBRANE TECHNOLOGY USED TO RECOVER ENERGY FROM WASTEWATER ORGANIC MATTER AND MINIMISE SLUDGE PRODUCTION

     

    Anaerobic membrane bio-reactor technology is an alternative to the traditional aerobic treatment of urban wastewater which reduces energy consumption and sludge generation. This line of research and technology transfer involved pilot-scale experiments using industrial membrane units and urban wastewater at ambient temperatures. The biological process parameters (cellular and hydraulic retention time) of stable biological treatment and maximum biogas production were analysed. The impact of operating parameters such as flow, the gas needed to maintain high permeability, back flush, relaxation, etc, were also studied to ensure that the energy used in the filtration process was managed effectively.

    The experimental results of pilot-scale studies and tests on the biodegradability and kinetics of anaerobic processes are also being used to develop organic matter degradation models with a view to simulating anaerobic membrane bio-reactors. Along this line, membrane process modelling is being studied to build a system for controlling filtration processes and operating membranes with energy consumption. Fuzzy-logic control systems are also being studied on the basis of membrane yield data such as flows, permeability, reversible and non-reversible fouling rates between back flushes.

    Part of this line of research, in which a more environmentally-friendly form of sustainable water treatment is being developed, consists of studying the processes by which nutrients and methane are removed from anaerobic membrane bio-reactor effluent. In the case of nitrogen and phosphorus removal, studies are under way to remove these nutrients by microalgae cultivation. Methanotrophic bacteria denitification is also being studied for use in removing dissolved methane, which acts as a source of carbon.




     

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