High loaded MBRs for organic matter recovery from sewage: Effect of solids retention time on bioflocculation and on the role of extracellular polymers

Lena Faust, H. Temmink, A. Zwijnenburg, Antonius J.B. Kemperman, H.H.M. Rijnaarts

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Abstract

High loaded MBRs (HL-MBR) can concentrate sewage organic matter by aerobic bioflocculation for subsequent anaerobic conversion to methane or volatile fatty acids. In the range of very short solid retention times (SRT), the effect of SRT on bioflocculation and EPS production in HL-MBR was investigated. This short SRT range was selected to find an optimum SRT maximising recovery of organics by aerobic bioflocculation and minimizing losses of organics by aerobic mineralization. Bioflocculation was studied in five HL-MBRs operated at SRTs of 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 5 d. The extent of flocculation, defined as the fraction of suspended COD in the concentrate, increased from 59% at an SRT of 0.125 d to 98% at an SRT of 5 d. The loss of sewage organic matter by biological oxidation was 1, 2, 4, 11 and 32% at SRT of 0.125–5 d. An SRT of 0.5–1 d gave best combination of bioflocculation and organic matter recovery. Bound extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) concentrations, in particular EPS-protein concentrations, increased when the SRT was prolonged from 0.125 to 1 d. This suggests that these EPS-proteins govern the bioflocculation process. A redistribution took place from free (supernatant) EPS to bound (floc associated) EPS when the SRT was prolonged from 0.125 to 1 d, further supporting the fact that the EPS play a dominant role in the flocculation process. Membrane fouling was most severe at the shortest SRTs of 0.125 d. No positive correlation was detected between the concentration of free EPS and membrane fouling, but the concentration of submicron (45–450 nm) particles proved to be a good indicator for this fouling
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-266
JournalWater research
Volume56
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • METIS-307372
  • IR-95023

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