Osmotic Membrane Bioreactor Using Outer Selective Hollow Fibre Membrane

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Osmotic membrane bioreactor (OMBR) is an emerging technology that can function as a pre-treatment step for water reclamation process from wastewater. This technology has the edge over the conventional membrane bioreactor such as higher quality water product, lower fouling propensity. Albeit membrane fouling remains an inevitable issue hampering the development of this technology. This study, therefore, proposed to apply an outer selective hollow fiber (OSHF) thin-film composite (TFC) forward osmosis (FO) membrane into the OMBR system an efficient method to mitigate membrane fouling, thereby enhanced performance of the OMBR system. This study focused on assessing performance of this novel FO membrane in the OMBR system based on water flux, salinity accumulation in the reactor, contaminant removal efficiency and especially its effectiveness in fouling mitigation. Findings from studies in this thesis indicated that the newly developed OSHF TFC FO membrane is suitable for the OMBR process due to its simplicity for fouling mitigation. Periodic air scouring in the side-stream module demonstrated highly efficient fouling mitigation without interruption the operation of the OMBR system while the submerged module was able to take advantage of aeration to prevent the deposition of foulants and formation of fouling cake layer onto the membrane surface. However, further study needs to be conducted to investigate the removal mechanism and fate of trace organic compounds, biodegradability of the membrane under the environment of activated sludge, and to optimize the operating condition of the submerged OMBR system. A further evaluation is also required to acquire a holistic and better understanding on the fouling severity in integrated hybrid systems of OMBR - MD or OMBR - RO.
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