Effect of aeration rate on the anti-biofouling properties of cellulose acetate nanocomposite membranes in a membrane bioreactor system for the treatment of pharmaceutical wastewater
In this study, the effect of aeration rate in terms of specific aeration demand per membrane area (SADm) on the anti-biofouling properties of cellulose acetate (CA) nanocomposite membranes (CA/ND-NH2) in a membrane bioreactor system was investigated. The amount of EPS and soluble EPS under high aeration rate conditions was observed to be higher than under low aeration rate conditions. The results obtained showed that either lower or higher aeration rates had a negative impact on membrane permeability. The high aeration rate resulted in a severe breakage of sludge flocs, and promoted the release of soluble EPS from the microbial flocs to the bioreactor tank. By increasing the aeration rate, the COD removal increased and decreased respectively for the membranes and the activated sludge. It was finally concluded that higher anti-biofouling properties of neat CA and nanocomposite membranes were obtained under optimal aeration rate conditions (SADm = 1 m3 m−2 h−1).