Evaluation of direct membrane filtration and direct forward osmosis as concepts for compact and energy-positive municipal wastewater treatment

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Municipal wastewater treatment commonly involves mechanical, biological and chemical treatment steps to protect humans and the environment from adverse effects. Membrane technology has gained increasing attention as an alternative to conventional wastewater treatment due to increased urbanization. Among the available membrane technologies, microfiltration (MF) and forward osmosis (FO) have been selected for this study due to their specific characteristics, such as compactness and efficient removal of particles. In this study, two treatment concepts were evaluated with regard to their specific electricity, energy and area demands. Both concepts would fulfil the Swedish discharge demands for small- and medium-sized wastewater treatment plants at full scale: (1) direct MF and (2) direct FO with seawater as the draw solution. The framework of this study is based on a combination of data obtained from bench- and pilot-scale experiments applying direct MF and FO, respectively. Additionally, available complementary data from a Swedish full-scale wastewater treatment plant and the literature were used to evaluate the concepts in depth. The results of this study indicate that both concepts are net positive with respect to electricity and energy, as more biogas can be produced compared to that using conventional wastewater treatment. Furthermore, the specific area demand is significantly reduced. This study demonstrates that municipal wastewater could be treated in a more energy- and area-efficient manner with techniques that are already commercially available and with future membrane technology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Volume39
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)264-276
ISSN0959-3330
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Environmental Chemistry, Water Science and Technology, Waste Management and Disposal, Biogas production, Forward osmosis, Membrane filtration, Seawater, Wastewater treatment

ID: 132191809