Industrial Wastewater Treatment: Which Advancements in Membrane Technologies will Fuel Growth?
High performance and efficient membrane technologies drive large-scale adoption of industrial wastewater treatment
Wastewater from various industries such as pulp and paper, agriculture, food and beverage (F&B), personal care, healthcare, metal and mining, manufacturing, power generation, oil and gas, and other industrial segments are categorized as industrial wastewater. Effluents from these industries vary based on physical, chemical, and biological characteristics and require different treatment types. For example, effluents from pulp and paper and F&B have higher biological oxygen demand, agriculture effluent has high nitrogen content, and effluents from manufacturing, mining, and fossil fuel power plants have higher heavy metal content.
Membrane technologies are gaining traction in industrial wastewater treatment due to their higher efficiency in treating chemical oxygen demand, biological oxygen demand, total suspended substance, and organic compounds compared to conventional wastewater treatment. Membrane technologies require less space and are modular in approach, making them viable options to consider for various operations. Industrial wastewater treatment applications typically focus on two types of membrane technologies—membrane bioreactor and membrane distillation. These membranes are packed in 4 modules with reactors, which are plate and frame, tubular, spiral wound, and hollow fiber, depending on the scale of operations and amount of wastewater to be treated.
Adoption of membrane technologies in industrial wastewater occurs in the secondary and tertiary phases. Factors such as the low pH, high flux, high content of suspended substances, and nitrogen content can influence the risk of membrane fouling. Most commercial membrane bioreactor and membrane distillation solutions have complex structures and are not easy to clean, while in biofilm reactors, the biofilm can be easily removed, but reinstallation requires additional work. These factors tend to push up the maintenance costs of membrane bioreactor and membrane distillation technologies.
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