Biofouling potential reductions using a membrane hybrid system as a pre-treatment to seawater reverse osmosis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 2012, 167 (6), pp. 1716 - 1727
Issue Date:
2012-07-01
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Biofouling on reverse osmosis (RO) membranes is the most serious problem which affects desalination process efficiency and increases operation cost. The biofouling cannot be effectively removed by the conventional pre-treatment traditionally used in desalination plants. Hybrid membrane systems coupling the adsorption and/or coagulation with low-pressure membranes can be a sustainable pre-treatment in reducing membrane fouling and at the same time improving the feed water quality to the seawater reverse osmosis. The addition of powder activated carbon (PAC) of 1.5 g/L into submerged membrane system could help to remove significant amount of both hydrophobic compounds (81.4%) and hydrophilic compounds (73.3%). When this submerged membrane adsorption hybrid system (SMAHS) was combined with FeCl3coagulation of 0.5 mg of Fe3+/L, dissolved organic carbon removal efficiency was excellent even with lower dose of PAC (0.5 g/L). Detailed microbial studies conducted with the SMAHS and the submerged membrane coagulation-adsorption hybrid system (SMCAHS) showed that these hybrid systems can significantly remove the total bacteria which contain also live cells. As a result, microbial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as well as total ATP concentrations in treated seawater and foulants was considerably decreased. The bacteria number in feed water prior to RO reduced from 5.10E+06cells/mL to 3.10E+03cells/mL and 9.30E+03cells/mL after SMAHS and SMCAHS were applied as pre-treatment, respectively. These led to a significant reduction of assimilable organic carbon (AOC) by 10.1 μg/L acetate-C when SMCAHS was used as a pre-treatment after 45-h RO operation. In this study, AOC method was modified to measure the growth of bacteria in seawater by using the Pseudomonas P.60 strain. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.
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