Effects of sludge concentrations and different sponge configurations on the performance of a sponge-submerged membrane bioreactor

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Journal Article
Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 2012, 167 (6), pp. 1678 - 1687
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The performance of a novel sponge-submerged membrane bioreactor (SSMBR) was evaluated to treat primary treated sewage effluent at three different activated sludge concentrations. Polyurethane sponge cubes with size of 1×1×1 cm were used as attached growth media in the bioreactor. The results indicated the successful removal of organic carbon and phosphorous with the efficiency higher than 98% at all conditions. Acclimatised sponge MBR showed about 5% better ammonia nitrogen removal at 5 and 10 g/L sludge concentration as compared to the new sponge system. The respiration test revealed that the specific oxygen uptake rate was around 1.0-3.5 mgO2/gVSS.h and likely more stable at 10 g/L sludge concentration. The sludge volume index of less than 100 mL/g during the operation indicated the good settling property of the sludge. The low mixed liquor suspended solid increase indicated that SSMBR could control the sludge production. This SSMBR was also successful in reducing membrane fouling with significant lower transmembrane pressure (e.g. only 0.5 kPa/day) compared to the conventional MBR system. Further study will be conducted to optimise other operating conditions. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.
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