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Performance of Alternating-Current-Enhanced Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor: Membrane Fouling, Wastewater Treatment, and CH4 Production

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journal contribution
posted on 17.11.2021, 12:34 by Yue Yang, Keyi Zhang, Sen Qiao, Jiti Zhou, Xie Quan
An alternating current (ac)-enhanced (+1.0 V/–1.2 V) anaerobic membrane bioreactor system was constructed (AC-AnMBR) with conductive carbon nanotubes hollow-fiber membranes (CHFMs) as the basic separation unit and electrode, simultaneously. Compared with the other two anaerobic membrane bioreactors polarized by anodic direct current (dc) (+1.0 V, A-AnMBR) and cathodic dc (−1.2 V, C-AnMBR), the membrane fouling was obviously mitigated based on the always lower transmembrane pressure. Meanwhile, the cake layer on CHFM from AC-AnMBR (∼15.7 μm) was thinner than those from C-AnMBR (∼22.8 μm) and A-AnMBR (∼35.7 μm) after 40 days of operation. In AC-AnMBR, a barrier of electrostatic repulsion force around membranes with −1.2 V hindered the negatively charged pollutants (mainly extracellular polymeric substances) deposited on the membranes’ surface. Then, the electrochemical oxidation provided by positively charged membranes would play a role in oxidizing or mineralizing pollutants for deep fouling removal. Two alternating effects reduced the adhesion of living bacteria, eventually causing a bacterial detachment from membrane surface at the same time. Additionally, AC-AnMBR showed a more than 90% effluent COD removal rate. The CH4 production could stabilize at 210 mL/L·day (COD ∼ 1500 mg/L) in AC-AnMBR and C-AnMBR, about higher 10 mL/L·day than that in A-AnMBR.