An Electro Moving Bed Membrane Bioreactor (eMB-MBR) as a Novel Technology for Wastewater Treatment and Reuse
Membrane bioreactor (MBR) is a reliable and promising technology for wastewater treatment and reuse. However, since membrane fouling and energy consumption still remain operational obstacles and challenges for the widespread application of the MBR technology, research studies for fouling control are still underway. Recently, among different integrated approaches for membrane fouling mitigation, the combinations of MBRs with electrochemical processes (eMBR/electro MBR) or with moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) have been adopted as alternative technological methods. In the present study, the performance of an electro moving bed membrane bioreactor (eMB-MBR), in terms of treatment efficiency and fouling formation, was investigated as a novel integrated process which combines an electro MBR with a moving bed membrane bioreactor (MB-MBR). An intermittent voltage gradient of 3 V/cm was applied between two electrodes immersed around a membrane module inside the bioreactor filled with carriers at 30% filling ratio. A MB-MBR was operated as a control test. The integration of electrochemical processes into the MB-MBR improved the treatment performance especially in terms of nutrient removal, with an enhancement of orthophosphate (PO4-P) and ammonia nitrogen (NH4-N) removal efficiencies up to 55.0% and 98.7%. The filtration cycles were extended in the eMB-MBR with a reduction of membrane fouling rate of around 60% and of membrane fouling precursors respect to the control test. The results obtained showed the synergic effect of the combined process. Hence, the eMB-MBR process represents a novel exciting technology which is deemed possible for wastewater treatment.
KeywordsElectro MBR Electric field Fouling Membrane bioreactor (MBR) Moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR)
The research activities were partially funded by FARB projects of the University of Salerno (n. ORSA167105; ORSA154525). The authors gratefully thank GE/Zenon Membrane Solution for donating the membrane modules used in the laboratory scale plant and Anna Conte, Paolo Napodano and dr. Anna Farina for the cooperation and the precious help given during the research activity.
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