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CFD Simulations of Mixing and Nutrient Removal in Full-Scale Membrane Bioreactors with Experimental Validation

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Membrane bioreactors (MBR) represent the state-of-the-art for treating municipal wastewater. The energy costs generally contribute to 50% of the total operating costs of MBRs. The energy is not only required for the biological process and membrane fouling control, but also required for achieving desired mixing conditions. However, the current MBRs design is mainly based on the biokinetics and membrane fouling considerations neglecting the effects of hydrodynamics. Current methods of design for a desired flow regime within the MBR are largely based on empirical techniques (e.g. specific mixing energy). In this study, a model was developed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to account for mixing of the whole MBR and biological nutrient removal. The modelling results were compared against experimental results of two full scale MBRs in Australia for the mixing regimes and against a modelling benchmark for the biological nutrient removal component of the model.
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Keywords: CFD; Hydrodynamics; Membrane Bioreactor; Mixing; RTD

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2009

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