Laboratory and pilot evaluation of aquaporin-based forward osmosis membranes for rejection of micropollutants

Rui Li, Sylvie Braekevelt, Johan Le Nepvou De Carfort, Shazad Hussain, Ulla E. Bollmann, Kai Bester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Aquaporin-based forward osmosis (AQP FO) membranes were applied both in laboratory- and pilot-scale for removing micropollutants from water. The effect of operating parameters (feed flow, draw flow, and transmembrane pressure) on the i) rejection of micropollutants, ii) water flux, iii) reverse salt flux, and iv) water recovery of the AQP FO membrane modules was studied. Among the 21 micropollutants spiked, only four compounds, atenolol, propranolol, metoprolol, and citalopram, permeated through the AQP FO membranes to an extent that they could be quantified in the draw solutions of both the laboratory and pilot systems. The rejection rates, based on the full mass balance calculations, were between 96.1% and 99.7%, and all the other 17 compounds showed rejection exceeding 90% on both systems. The pilot AQP FO system was further employed for six days to treat effluent from a membrane bioreactor (MBR) treating municipal wastewater. 35 micropollutants were investigated. 27 of these were identified and quantified in the MBR effluent. Minute fractions of gabapentin, benzotriazole, and metoprolol were detected passing through the AQP FO membranes into the draw side with a constant rejection of around 99.2%, 95.4%, and 99.9%. Almost all other micropollutants’ minimum rejection rates exceeded 80%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116924
JournalWater Research
Volume194
ISSN0043-1354
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Aquaporin
  • Biomimetic forward osmosis
  • Laboratory study
  • Micropollutants
  • Pilot Study

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