Study of integration of forward osmosis and biological process: Membrane performance under elevated salt environment

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Journal Article
Desalination, 2011, 283 pp. 123 - 130
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There has been an increasing interest in the novel integration of forward osmosis (FO) and biological process known as the osmotic membrane bioreactor (OMBR). However, little operating experience is available to adequately assess the feasibility of the technology for larger scale application. The goal of this study is to provide fundamental information on the technology. In this study, an OMBR system was continuously operated for 73 days. It was found that the high retention property of the FO membrane and salt transmission from the draw solution resulted in increasing mixed liquor salinity until a stable state was reached. In spite of the elevated salinity, the water flux was relatively stable at around 3 L m-2 h-1. Post-experiment analyses indicated mild membrane fouling, and its effect on water permeability was insignificant. An ion analysis check indicated that scaling did not occur. The SEM examination detected a thin gel-like secondary layer on the membrane surface. It was deduced that this secondary layer could have an influencing role on salt transmission during the experiment, and moderated salt concentration in the bioreactor.
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