This study assessed the performance and key challenges associated with the integration of forward osmosis (FO) and anaerobic digestion for wastewater treatment and resource recovery. Using a thin film composite polyamide FO membrane, maximising the pre-concentration factor (i.e. system water recovery) resulted in the enrichment of organics and salinity in wastewater. Biomethane potential evaluation indicated that methane production increased correspondingly with the FO pre-concentration factor due to the organic retention in the feed solution. At 90% water recovery, about 10% more methane was produced when using NaOAc compared with NaCl because of the contribution of biodegradable reverse NaOAc flux. No negative impact on anaerobic digestion was observed when wastewater was pre-concentrated ten-fold (90% water recovery) for both draw solutes. Interestingly, the unit cost of methane production using NaOAc was slightly lower than NaCl due to the lower reverse solute flux of NaOAc, although NaCl is a much cheaper chemical.
Available for download on Monday, March 30, 2020