This study compared the performance of the asymmetric cellulose triacetate (CTA) and polyamide thin film composite (TFC) forward osmosis (FO) membranes in an osmotic membrane bioreactor (OMBR). A reverse osmosis (RO) system was integrated with OMBR to regenerate the draw solution and produce clean water. Results show that the TFC membrane exhibited a higher initial water flux but more dramatic flux decline compared to the CTA membrane when they were used for OMBR. The CTA and TFC membranes also resulted in discernible difference in salinity build-up in the bioreactor and thus biomass characteristics during OMBR operation. All 30 trace organic contaminants (TrOCs) selected in this study were effectively removed by the OMBR-RO hybrid system regardless of the FO membrane type. Compared to the CTA membrane, the TFC membrane contributed more significantly toward the removal of hydrophilic and biologically persistent compounds and thus reduced their accumulation in the draw solution during OMBR-RO operation. In addition, CTA and TFC FO membranes also resulted in considerable differences in TrOC residuals in the sludge during OMBR operation.
Available for download on Monday, June 11, 2018