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Multidimensional Modeling of the Hollow-Fiber Membrane Biofilm Reactor

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A hydrogen–based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) in a spiral-wound configuration is being developed to remove nitrate and other oxidized contaminants from water and wastewater. The MBfR uses membranes to provide a gaseous substrate to a biofilm growing on the membrane's outer surface. This study investigated the spatial distribution and performance of MBfR biofilms. Given the reactor's complex geometry and counter-diffusional mass transfer scheme, computational fluid dynamics and two-dimensional, individual–based biofilm representation were used to model the system. The modeling domain consisted of a narrow channel with membrane walls and inert spacer filaments that rested on the bottom membrane. A variety of geometrical configurations and operating conditions were tested. For the conditions tested, smaller filament diameters led to less biomass at the bottom membrane and more biomass at the top. Greater spacing between filaments also led to more biomass at the top membrane.
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Keywords: MBfR; biofilm; hollow-fiber membrane biofilm reactor; individual based model

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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