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CONTENTS
Volume 6, Number 1, January 2015
 

Abstract
The modification of ultrafiltration membranes with carbon nanotube (CNT) buckypaper on fouling control was investigated. Two types of commercially available flat-sheet membranes were used: PS35 and PES900C/D (PES) (the PS35 membranes were hydrophilic with a molecular weight cutoff of 20 kDa, and the PES membranes were hydrophobic with a molecular weight cutoff of 20 kDa). The CNT buckypaper modified ultrafiltration membranes were prepared by filtering a CNT suspension through the flat-sheet membrane in a dead-end ultrafiltration unit. After modification, the pure water flux of PES was significantly increased, while the pure water flux of PS35 was decreased. The properties of the CNT modified membranes were also investigated. Considering the antifouling properties, pure water flux of the modified membrane, and the stability of CNT buckypaper layer on the membrane surface, ethanol solution with a concentration of 50 wt.%, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with a larger diameter (30-50 nm), and the CNT loading with 7.5g/m2 was selected. The CNT buckypaper on the surface of ultrafiltration membranes can trap the pollutants in sewage effluent and prevent them reaching the surface of virgin membranes. Water quality analysis showed that the effluent quality of the modified membrane was obviously improved. The removal efficiency of humic acid and protein-like matters by the modified membrane was significant. These results indicate the potential application of the CNT buckypaper layer modified membranes in the field of wastewater reclaim.

Key Words
carbon nanotube; ultrafiltration membrane; membrane fouling; membrane modification; wastewater treatment

Address
School of Environment and Energy Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, 100124, Beijing, China.

Abstract
The compact structure and high-quality effluent of membrane bioreactors make them well-suited for decentralized greywater reclamation. However, the occurrence of membrane fouling continues to limit their effectiveness. To address this concern, a unique membrane module configuration was developed for use in a decentralized greywater treatment system. The module featured local aeration directly below a series of inclined membrane bundles, giving the overall module a twisted appearance compared to a module with vertically orientated fibres. The intent of this design was to increase the frequency and intensity of collisions between rising air bubbles and the membrane surface. Material related to the construction of custom-fit modules is rarely communicated. Therefore, detailed design and assembly procedures were provided in this paper. The twisted module was compared to two commercially available modules with diverse specifications in order to assess the relative performance and marketability of the twisted module with respect to existing products. Contaminant removal efficiencies were determined in terms of biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, ammonia, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and turbidity for each module. Membrane fouling was monitored in terms of permeate flux, transmembrane pressure, and membrane resistance. Following 168 h of operation, the twisted module configuration demonstrated competitive performance, indicating good potential for further development and commercialization.

Key Words
module configuration; module geometry; module fabrication; membrane bioreactor; membrane fouling

Address
Department of Environmental Systems Engineering, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Abstract
In this study, poly (phenylene oxide) (PPO) and poysulfone (PSf) were sulfonated and aminated respectively. Both sulfonated poly (phenylene oxide) (SPPO) and aminated polysulfone (APSf) were characterized via the measurement of FT-IR, swelling degree, ion exchange capacity (IEC), and ion conductivity. Then the surfaces of these membranes were modified by surface fluorination using 2000 ppm F2 gas against N2 gas for 1 h at room temperature. The surface fluorinated SPPO and APSf membranes were characterized again to determine any differences between the pristine and fluorinated membranes. In total, 3 types of bi-polar membranes were prepared by varying the IEC of the APSf and having a fixed value for the IEC of the SPPO. The hypochlorite concentration generated by using the surface fluorinated membranes was dependent on the IEC of the APSf and ranged from 683 to 826 ppm, while there was a considerable improvement in the durability of the surface fluorinated membranes as they remained intact even after operating for 4 h.

Key Words
aminated polysulfone; bi-polar membrane; hypochlorite; sulfonated poly (phenylene oxide); surface fluorination

Address
(1) Jung Sik Kim, Soo-Gil Park:
Department of Industrial Engineering Chemistry, Chungbuk National University, 52 Naesudong-ro, Heungdeok-gu, Cheongju, Chungbuk 361-763 Korea;
(2) Eun Hye Cho, Ji Won Rhim, Chan Jong Park:
Department of Chemical Engineering, Hannam University, 1646 Yuseongdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811 Korea.

Abstract
A small-scale electro-dialysis system was constructed for domestic use. It is composed of six compartments in which five special polystyrene ionic membranes are housed. A series of experiments on the transport of sodium and chloride ions through polystyrene membranes was performed and the effects of electric current and voltage on the pH of water were investigated. This electrodialyser could reduce the NaCl content to an acceptable level (5307 mg/L) when water containing 9945 mg/L of sodium chloride is fed to the electrodialyser. The reduction was by the action of direct current 60 mA/100 mA when a 15 V / 20 V potential is maintained across the membrane. The results showed that the pH of the treated water attained a value in the range of 7-8, with the chloride concentration of 5307 mg/L when the voltage was in the range of 20 volts. This was achieved when two of the small-scale electro-dialysers were placed in series and the solutions from the respective compartments were mixed. This is considered useful because this complies to the requirement of drinking water standard both in terms of chloride and pH. Therefore, this type electrodialyserhas the potential for domestic uses in isolated houses where potable water supply is not available.

Key Words
electrodialyser; desalination; salt removal; ion-exchange membrane; domestic, drinking / potable water

Address
Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, P.O. Box 15551, Al Ain, UAE.

Abstract
This paper provides an overview of the role of membranes in bioelectrochemical systems (BESs). Bioelectrochemical systems harvest clean energy from waste organic sources by employing indigenous exoelectrogenic bacteria. This energy is extracted in the form of bioelectricity or valuable biofuels such as ethanol, methane, hydrogen, and hydrogen peroxide. Various types of membranes were applied in these systems, the most common membrane being the cation exchange membrane. In this paper, we discuss three major bioelectrochemical technology research areas namely microbial fuel cells (MFCs), microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) and microbial desalination cells (MDCs). The operation principles of these BESs, role of membranes in these systems and various factors that affect their performance and economics are discussed in detail. Among the three technologies, the MFCs may be functional with or without membranes as separators while the MECs and MDCs require membrane separators. The preliminary economic analysis shows that the capital and operational costs for BESs will significantly decrease in the future due mainly to differences in membrane costs. Currently, MECs appear to be cost-competitive and energy-yielding technology followed by MFCs. Future research endeavors should focus on maximizing the process benefits while simultaneously minimizing the membrane costs related to fouling, maintenance and replacement.

Key Words
membranes; bioelectrochemical systems; bioelectricity; biohydrogen; desalination

Address
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA.

Abstract
Ultrafiltration membranes have several advantages over conventional drinking-water treatment. However, this technology presents major limitations, such as irreversible fouling and low removal of natural organic matter. Fouling depends heavily on the raw-water quality as well as on the operating conditions of the process, including flux, permeate recovery, pre-treatment, chemical cleaning, and backwashing. Starting with the premise that the optimisation of operating variables can improve membrane performance, different experiments were conducted in a pilot plant located in Granada (Spain). Several combinations of permeate and backwashing flow rates, backwashing frequencies, and aeration flow rates were tested for low-quality water coming from Genil River with the following results: the effluent quality did not depend on the combination of operating conditions chosen; and the membrane was effective for the removal of microorganisms, turbidity and suspended solids but the yields for the removal of dissolved organic carbon were extremely low. In addition, the threshold transmembrane pressure (-0.7 bar) was reached within a few hours and it was difficult to recover due to the low efficiency of the chemical cleanings. Moreover, greater transmembrane pressure due to fouling also increased the energy consumption, and it was not possible to lower it without compromising the permeate recovery. Finally, the intensification of aeration contributed positively to lengthening the operation times but again raised energy consumption. In light of these findings, the feasibility of ultrafiltration as a single treatment is questioned for low-quality influents.

Key Words
economical feasibility; fouling; natural organic matter; transmembrane pressure; ultrafiltration

Address
(1) Fátima Rojas-Serrano, Rocío Álvarez-Arroyo, Jorge I. Pérez, Miguel A. Gómez:
Technologies for Water Management and Treatment Research Group, University of Granada, Department of Civil Engineering, Campus de Fuentenueva s/n 18071, Granada, Spain;
(2) Fidel Plaza, Gloria Garralón:
Department of Research and Development, CADAGUA S.A., Gran Via 45, 7a, 48011 Bilbao, Spain.


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