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Water Intelligence Online © IWA Publishing 2012
Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment
Lutgarde Raskin, Steven Skerlos, Nancy G. Love, and Adam L. Smith
Sustainable water management is increasingly important for utilities and is driving efforts to reduce energy consumption and residuals production in domestic wastewater (DWW) treatment without compromising effluent quality. Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) combine anaerobic biological treatment and membrane separation in a single process. The potential benefits of DWW treatment by AnMBRs are substantial:
♦They generate a fraction of the residuals and consume substantially less energy compared to conventional DWW treatment systems.
♦They allow for the recovery of methane, a renewable energy source, which further improves the energy balance.
♦They can be integrated in centralized or decentralized wastewater treatment schemes due to easy scalability.
In short, DWW treatment using AnMBR technology potentially represents a more sustainable DWW treatment paradigm. This study addressed the following questions that highlight the challenges associated with DWW treatment with AnMBR: Can AnMBRs be operated at the low DWW temperatures experienced in many regions in the U.S. and around the world? Can AnMBR treatment meet U.S. EPA's standards for secondary treatment? Can methane be recovered efficiently during low-temperature AnMBR treatment of DWW?
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