Applicability of a novel osmotic membrane bioreactor using a specific draw solution in wastewater treatment.
A full-scale osmotic membrane bioreactor (OMBR) model was developed to simulate salt accumulation, draw solution (DS) dilution, and water flux over the hollow-fiber membrane length. The model uses the OMBR design parameters, DS properties, and forward osmosis (FO) membrane characteristics obtained from lab-scale tests. The modeling results revealed a tremendous water flux decline (10→0.82LMH) and short solids retention time (SRT: 5days) due to salt accumulation and DS dilution when OMBR is scaled up using commercially available DS and FO membrane. Simulated water flux is a result of interplay among reverse salt flux, internal and external concentration polarization (ICP and ECP). ECP adversely impacts water flux considerably in full-scale OMBR although it is often ignored in previous works. The OMBR model makes it possible to select better DS properties (higher flow rate and salt concentration) and FO membranes with higher water flux propensity in full-scale operation.