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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.
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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: 2011-01-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    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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