Biofilter as pretreatment to membrane based desalination: Evaluation in terms of fouling index

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Journal Article
Desalination, 2009, 247 (1-3), pp. 77 - 84
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The removal of particulate matter and dissolved organic matter from seawater by the use of biofiltration was investigated. Granular activated carbon (GAC) and anthracite were used as biofilter media at two different filtration velocities. Filtrate quality was measured in terms of silt density index (SDI), modified fouling index (MFI) and turbidity removal. Reverse osmosis (RO) was used as a post-treatment. Both biofilters demonstrated similar fouling reduction behavior in terms of SDI and MFI. Fouling potential in terms of MFI values decreased to 10 s/L2within the first 10-15 days of operation and kept constant up to the remaining experimental period of 55 days of operation for both GAC and anthracite biofilter. The filtrate turbidity was steady after 10 days and remained low at a value of 0.2-0.3 NTU and 0.28-0.31 NTU for anthracite and GAC biofilter, respectively. Furthermore, the headloss development was low and within 20 cm for biofilter operated at a low velocity of 5 m/h. A post-treatment of reverse osmosis after a pretreatment of GAC and anthracite biofilters showed a reduction in normalized flux decline (J/J0) from 0.22 to 0.12 and 0.35 to 0.21 during the first 20 h, respectively. The RO flux for seawater declined at a faster rate and continued even after 3 days when no pretreatment was provided. © 2009.
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