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Renewable energy-driven hydroponic system using an integrated membrane-biological process for sustainable agriculture and water reuse in arid regions

Project Member(s): Shon, H., Phuntsho, S., Tijing, L.

Funding or Partner Organisation: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Start year: 2015

Summary: In this study, a thermophilic anaerobic bioreactor combined with the forward osmosis-membrane distillation or (FO-MD) integrated in a single module will be investigated. The low fouling FO membrane process will be used to dewater sludge in the bioreactor using NaCl or any other suitable salt as draw solution (DS). MD process is integrated next to the DS chamber using highly microporous hydrophobic membranes that allow water vapour to pass through the dry pores, while retaining the NaCl salt or any non-volatile organics and inorganics that might have passed through the FO membrane. The diluted DS along with the water that passes through the FO membrane is already heated to about 56-65°C and this temperature should be adequate for the MD process to occur effectively. Since the diluted DS contains only NaCl, hence the MD will work effectively without any issue of membrane scaling or fouling or membrane wetting. A suitable recovery rate for MD may be adjusted so that the MD concentrated can be recycled and reused as DS for the FO process. The integrated FO-MD module captures the complementary advantages provided by FO and MD in a single step thereby reducing the plant footprint. High temperature feed water in the bioreactor will also decrease the water viscosity and also mitigate the concentration polarization (CP) effects resulting in enhanced FO water flux. The FO-MD module therefore allows us to produce final product water which is of drinking water quality ready for reuse in a single step.

Publications:

Volpin, F, Chekli, L, Phuntsho, S, Ghaffour, N, Vrouwenvelder, JS & Shon, HK 2019, 'Optimisation of a forward osmosis and membrane distillation hybrid system for the treatment of source-separated urine', SEPARATION AND PURIFICATION TECHNOLOGY, vol. 212, pp. 368-375.
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Fortunato, L, Pathak, N, Ur Rehman, Z, Shon, H & Leiknes, TO 2018, 'Real-time monitoring of membrane fouling development during early stages of activated sludge membrane bioreactor operation', Process Safety and Environmental Protection, vol. 120, pp. 313-320.
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Pathak, N, Fortunato, L, Li, S, Chekli, L, Phuntsho, S, Ghaffour, N, Leiknes, T & Shon, HK 2018, 'Evaluating the effect of different draw solutes in a baffled osmotic membrane bioreactor-microfiltration using optical coherence tomography with real wastewater.', Bioresource technology, vol. 263, pp. 306-316.
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Chekli, L, Kim, JE, El Saliby, I, Kim, Y, Phuntsho, S, Li, S, Ghaffour, N, Leiknes, TO & Kyong Shon, H 2017, 'Fertilizer drawn forward osmosis process for sustainable water reuse to grow hydroponic lettuce using commercial nutrient solution', Separation and Purification Technology, vol. 181, pp. 18-28.
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Chekli, L, Kim, Y, Phuntsho, S, Li, S, Ghaffour, N, Leiknes, T & Shon, HK 2017, 'Evaluation of fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis for sustainable agriculture and water reuse in arid regions.', Journal of environmental management, vol. 187, pp. 137-145.
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Kim, Y, Li, S, Chekli, L, Phuntsho, S, Ghaffour, N, Leiknes, T & Shon, HK 2017, 'Influence of fertilizer draw solution properties on the process performance and microbial community structure in a side-stream anaerobic fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis - ultrafiltration bioreactor.', Bioresource Technology, vol. 240, pp. 149-156.
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Kim, Y, Li, S, Chekli, L, Woo, YC, Wei, CH, Phuntsho, S, Ghaffour, N, Leiknes, TO & Shon, HK 2017, 'Assessing the removal of organic micro-pollutants from anaerobic membrane bioreactor effluent by fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis', Journal of Membrane Science, vol. 533, pp. 84-95.
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Kim, Y, Woo, YC, Phuntsho, S, Nghiem, LD, Shon, HK & Hong, S 2017, 'Evaluation of fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis for coal seam gas reverse osmosis brine treatment and sustainable agricultural reuse', Journal of Membrane Science, vol. 537, pp. 22-31.
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Li, S, Kim, Y, Chekli, L, Phuntsho, S, Shon, HK, Leiknes, TO & Ghaffour, N 2017, 'Impact of reverse nutrient diffusion on membrane biofouling in fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis', Journal of Membrane Science, vol. 539, pp. 108-115.
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Li, S, Kim, Y, Phuntsho, S, Chekli, L, Shon, HK, Leiknes, T & Ghaffour, N 2017, 'Methane production in an anaerobic osmotic membrane bioreactor using forward osmosis: Effect of reverse salt flux.', Bioresource Technology, vol. 239, pp. 285-293.
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Pathak, N, Chekli, L, Wang, J, Kim, Y, Phuntsho, S, Li, S, Ghaffour, N, Leiknes, T & Shon, H 2017, 'Performance of a novel baffled osmotic membrane bioreactor-microfiltration hybrid system under continuous operation for simultaneous nutrient removal and mitigation of brine discharge.', Bioresource Technology, vol. 240, pp. 50-58.
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Wang, J, Pathak, N, Chekli, L, Phuntsho, S, Kim, Y, Li, D & Shon, HK 2017, 'Performance of a novel fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis aerobic membrane bioreactor (FDFO-MBR): Mitigating salinity build-up by integrating microfiltration', Water, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1-13.
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Kim, Y, Chekli, L, Shim, W-G, Phuntsho, S, Li, S, Ghaffour, N, Leiknes, T & Shon, HK 2016, 'Selection of suitable fertilizer draw solute for a novel fertilizer-drawn forward osmosis-anaerobic membrane bioreactor hybrid system', BIORESOURCE TECHNOLOGY, vol. 210, pp. 26-34.
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Keywords: anaerobic bioreactor, forward osmosis, membrane distillation

FOR Codes: Water Treatment Processes, Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water for Urban and Industrial Use