Electrochemical membrane filtration has proven to be successful for microbial removal and separation from water. In addition, membrane fouling could be mitigated by electrochemical reactions and electrostatic repulsion on a reactive membrane surface. This study assessed the filtration performances and fouling characteristics of electrochemically reactive ceramic membranes (a Magneli phase suboxide of TiO2) when filtering algal suspension under different dc currents to achieve anodic or cathodic polarization. The critical flux results indicate that when applying positive or negative dc currents (e.g., 1.25-2.5 mA·cm-2) to the membrane, both significantly mitigated membrane fouling and thus maintained higher critical fluxes (up to 14.6 × 10-5·m3·m-2·s-1 or 526 LMH) compared to the critical flux without dc currents. Moreover, applying dc currents also enhanced membrane defouling processes and recovered high permeate flux better than hydraulic and chemical backwash methods. Moreover, fouling kinetics and the cake layer formation were further analyzed with a resistance-in-series model that revealed many important but underexamined parameters (e.g., cake layer resistance and cake layer thickness). The cake layer structures (e.g., compressibility) were shown to vary with the electrochemical activity, which provide new insight into the biofouling mechanisms. Finally, the algogenic odor, geosmin, was shown to be effectively removed by this reactive membrane under positive dc currents (2.5 mA·cm-2), which highlights the multifunctional capabilities of electrochemically reactive membrane filtration in biomass separation, fouling prevention, and pollutant degradation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry