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Pilot Scale Testing of A New Configuration of The Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) to Treat High-Strength Industrial Sewage

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An alternative design of the membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) was developed to overcome some of the current technical and economical limitations preventing full scale applications of the process. The ZeeLung™ system uses a new dense hollow-fibre membrane with an unprecedented thin diameter. Two pilot units treating a synthetic high-strength industrial wastewater (4700 mgCOD/L, 145 mgTKN/L) operated successfully for 16 months. They performed simultaneous COD removal, nitrification and denitrification. The very high specific surface area (810 m2/m3) allowed the surface loading rate to be kept low enough (3.6 gCOD/(m2.d)) to maintain a relatively thin biofilm (200 to 350 µm) and use low-pressure air (41 kPa) instead of high-pressure pure oxygen. Intermittent air and liquid mixing at high frequency and low shear were compared: they were equally effective in enhancing substrate transfer, but failed to stabilize biofilm accumulation. Air sparging additionally prevented the acidification of the bulk by stripping CO2.

Keywords: Membrane-aerated biofilm; design; high-strength wastewater; hollow-fibre; loading rate; mass balance; mixing; oxygen transfer; solids production yield

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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