NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Symposium Language: English
“Membrane Technology for Desalination and Waste Water Treatment: State-of-the-art, Innovations and Challenges”
Our planet is rapidly running out of clean fresh water as the consequences of natural and human factors in the context of the unequal level of economic development, technological capacity and excessive water pollution. Membrane-based water treatment processes have emerged as engineering solutions to provide immediate solutions to this growing crisis. Over years, membrane technology has been widely accepted as a means of producing high quality treated water from various sources including surface water, well water, brackish water and seawater. Membrane technology has also been used in industrial wastewater treatment for recycling and reclamation purposes. In the last decade, a steep rise in the level of nanotechnology research efforts has been observed worldwide. Science-based technology, particularly nanotechnology, has offered a great extent in material improvements. The integration of nanomaterials in membrane-based water treatment processes in terms of materials and systems enhancement has been acknowledged as the unprecedented key to overwhelm the barriers and limitations that are facing current membrane technology. The innovative research progresses prompt a wide range of engineered nanomaterials to hold vast potential in advancing membrane-based separation to improve the overall efficiency as well as to reduce environmental footprint. This presentation provides the insights into the advances driven by membrane technology to resolve the global water issues. Emphasis is placed on the fabrication of nano-enabled membranes where the membrane structures can be carefully tailored and controlled through the incorporation of engineered nanomaterials. The innovations and challenges faced in the lab scale and commercial scale development of membrane technology for desalination and wastewater treatment will be presented.
“ Innovations in Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor Technology ”
Since the early 2000, anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) have been increasingly researched for their feasibility and practical applications. In AnMBRs, biomass and particulate organic matter are physically retained inside the reactor, providing optimal conditions for organic matter degradation. AnMBRs represent an attractive treatment option for industrial wastewaters and/or slurries at extreme conditions, such as high salinity, high temperature, high concentrations of suspended solids (SS), high lipid concentrations and/or the presence of refractory compounds. The solids-free effluent facilitates physicochemical downstream processing of the permeate e.g. with reverse osmosis (RO) for cost-effective water recovery.
Thus far, all full-scale AnMBR applications concern industrial wastewater. However, there exist a growing interest for the treatment of domestic and municipal sewage, concomitantly opting for water reclamation. Since macronutrients such as ammonium and orthophosphates are not removed by anaerobic bioprocesses and pathogens largely can be retained by the membrane unit, permeates of AnMBRs are certainly of interest for agricultural use. However, with the increased hydraulic flows, achievable membrane fluxes and thus membrane fouling phenomena, will determine the economics of the plant. At present our research focuses on the online measurement of sludge filterability, opting for automated control of the membrane flux.
The presentation will summarize recent developments on AnMBR and will discuss future potentials.
“ Membrane Bioreactor Technology for Water Reuse ”
Severity of countries facing water stress has been found to be increasing, particularly in Asia and Africa, because of climate change. And water has always been a precious and strategic commodity that plays a crucial role in our survival and societal development. For regions facing the shortage of water, water reuse is a viable solution that is being widely adopted. And membrane technologies have been and will continue to play a key role in water reuse to combat water scarcity issues.
One of the membrane technologies that are widely used for water reuse is the membrane bioreactor. Membrane bioreactor (MBR) combines conventional activated sludge process to biologically treat wastewater and filtration process to separate treated water from biomass. Advances in MBRs were so rapid and successful in the last couple of decades that the number of full-scale installations increased exponentially, in part because of the increasing confidence in this technology and the decreasing start-up costs. However, membrane fouling, whereby membrane pores are being clogged by foulants has always been a challenging issue that can impeded its widespread adoption. In this presentation, the performance of MBR, factors affecting membrane fouling and research & development on MBR technology for water reuse and fouling mitigation shall be discussed. In addition, latest development in anaerobic MBR for water reuse shall also be discussed.
“Energy-Efficient Innovative Desalination Technologies for Water Supply Sustainability ”
The current desalination technologies are very energy-intensive compared to the thermodynamic limits, despite recent technical improvements. Furthermore, membrane technology development is hampered by relatively low flux performances and membrane (bio) fouling. Several countries have realized that they are not going to be protected from the future global energy crisis and have started to set up plans to diversify their energy resources, e.g. renewable energy, and development of innovative low-energy desalination technologies. There is therefore a need to develop more suitable integrated technologies. In previous work we have shown that these new technologies can significantly lower the specific energy consumption. In this talk, emerging desalination technologies developed by our group, mainly membrane distillation, forward osmosis, and adsorption desalination and hybrid systems will be presented, with a focus on one specific case study, and supported by experimental and simulation results.
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