Microfiltration and ultrafiltration as a post-treatment of biogas plant digestates for producing concentrated fertilizers

Maria Salud Camilleri Rumbau, Birgir Norddahl, Jiang Wei, Knud Villy Christensen, Lene Fjerbæk Søtoft

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Biogas plant digestate liquid fractions can be concentrated by microfiltration and ultrafiltration. Two types of microfiltration membranes (polysulphone (PS) and surface-modified polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)) were used to process digestate liquid fractions, and to assess their applicability in the recovery of particulate phosphorus, compared to an ultrafiltration membrane (polyethersulphone (PES)). Results show that membrane material, operational conditions, and pore diameter influenced the permeate flux pattern during microfiltration. The PS membranes initially had a higher tendency to foul than PVDF membranes. However, during the filtration process, as fouling built up, the permeate flux behavior of the two membranes became very similar. During the concentration of digestate liquid
fractions, the microfiltration PS membrane and the ultrafiltration PES membrane achieved the highest phosphorus rejection (80% w/w), suggesting that there was a correlation between the membrane material and both the fouling trend and phosphorus rejection. A two-step basic-acidic cleaning was unable to recover the initial water flux for the fouled microfiltration membranes. In conclusion, the PS microfiltration membranes might be a good strategy for recovering phosphorus from digestate liquid fractions. Further research leading to adequate cleaning procedures, for microfiltration PS and PVDF membranes treating digestate liquid fractions though, are needed.
TidsskriftDesalination and Water Treatment
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1639-1653
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 15. jul. 2015


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