Air/water cleaning of membranes: from idea to full scale practice in 6 years time
Developing a treatment process – from idea to full scale practice – within 6 years time is quite a challenge. This is what happened to air/water cleaning (AWC), a process which has been developed to prevent membrane fouling in membrane elements. The story was presented during the membrane fouling session on tuesday 18 september.
During 2005-2011 several lab-scale and pilot studies were conducted using flat sheet RO membranes and 2.5-inch and 8-inch type spiral-wound membrane (SWM) elements. The effect of AWC was assessed using operational parameters and membrane autopsy data. AWC proved to be an effective method for its purpose, and the periodical use of AWC did not lead to failure of the membrane integrity. A full-scale 1400 m3/h RO plant is succesfully operated by Evides Industriewater (The Netherlands) since 2010 and is effectively using AWC.
The AWC process was awarded by IWA (Regional Honour Award) spring 2012.
During the membrane fouling session, another Dutch presentation focussed on the use of a CO2 gas/water mixture, based on a similar approach. Cleaning with bubbles: another Dutch specialty, on top of flowers, cheese and water technology!
Jos Boere / Emile Cornelissen