Long-term effect on membrane fouling in a new membrane bioreactor as a pretreatment to seawater desalination

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Journal Article
Bioresource Technology, 2014, 165 (C), pp. 60 - 68
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© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Submerged membrane adsorption bio-reactors (SMABR) were investigated as a new pretreatment for seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination. They were tested with different doses of powder activated carbon (PAC) on-site for a long-term. The biofouling on the membrane was assessed in terms of DNA (cells) and polysaccharide distribution. MBR without PAC addition resulted in severe fouling on membrane. When PAC is added in the MBR, PAC could reduce the organic fouling. Hence the biofilm formation on membrane was reduced without any membrane damage. PAC also helped to remove low molecular weight (LMW) organics responsible for biofouling of RO membrane. A linear correlation between assimilable organic carbon (AOC) and LMW organics was observed. A small amount of PAC (2.4-8.0g of PAC/m3 of seawater) was sufficient to reduce biofouling. It indicated that SMABR is an environmentally-friendly biological pretreatment to reduce biofouling for SWRO.
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