Treatment of manure and digestate liquid fractions using membranes: Opportunities and challenges

Maria Salud Camilleri-Rumbau*, Kelly Briceño, Lene Fjerbæk Søtoft, Knud Villy Christensen, Maria Cinta Roda-Serrat, Massimiliano Errico, Birgir Norddahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Manure and digestate liquid fractions are nutrient-rich effluents that can be fractionated and concentrated using membranes. However, these membranes tend to foul due to organic matter, solids, colloids, and inorganic compounds including calcium, ammonium, sodium, sulfur, potas-sium, phosphorus, and magnesium contained in the feed. This review paper is intended as a theoretical and practical tool for the decision-making process during design of membrane-based systems aiming at processing manure liquid fractions. Firstly, this review paper gives an overview of the main physico-chemical characteristics of manure and digestates. Furthermore, solid-liquid separation technologies are described and the complexity of the physico-chemical variables affecting the separation process is discussed. The main factors influencing membrane fouling mechanisms, mor-phology and characteristics are described, as well as techniques covering membrane inspection and foulant analysis. Secondly, the effects of the feed characteristics, membrane operating conditions (pressure, cross-flow velocity, temperature), pH, flocculation-coagulation and membrane cleaning on fouling and membrane performance are presented. Finally, a summary of techniques for specific recovery of ammonia-nitrogen, phosphorus and removal of heavy metals for farm effluents is also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3107
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1-30
Publication statusPublished - 2. Mar 2021


  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Digestate
  • Liquid-solid separation
  • Membrane fouling
  • Membrane separation
  • Nutrient recovery


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