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A Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC Company

MembraneFiltrationTechnology:
MeetingTodaysWaterTreatmentChallenges

Growingglobaldemandforcleanwaterandincreasingenvironmentalconcernsmakemembrane
filtrationthetechnologyofchoiceforindustriesseekingtoreusetheirwastewaterandreducetheir
waterfootprint.Knowingwhichmembranesystemsolutionisbestforyourwatertreatmentchallenge
canhelpyouincreaseplantefficiency,whilereducingoperatingandchemicalcosts,andcomplyingwith
increasinglystringentdischargeregulations.Membranefiltrationalsoofferssolutionsforlargescale
municipalapplicationsthatproducepotablewaterfromavarietyofsourcewaters.Thispaperwill
presentanddefinethewiderangeofmembranefiltrationtechnologiesavailablefromKochMembrane
Systems,highlightinganumberofimportantissuestoconsiderwhenevaluatinganeffectiveand
efficientmembranefiltrationsystem.
MembraneFiltration:TheTechnologyofChoice
Widelyrecognizedasthetechnologyofchoiceforsuperiorwaterandwastewatertreatment,
membranesprovideaphysicalbarrierthateffectivelyremovessolids,viruses,bacteriaandother
unwantedmolecules.Differenttypesofmembranesareusedforsoftening,disinfection,organic
removal,anddesalinationofwaterandwastewaterandcanbeinstalledincompact,automated,
modularunits.Membranefiltrationunitscanalsobeinstalledinrelativelysmallfacilitiesthatblendinto
thesurroundingareaandcanbefullyautomatedtosignificantlyreducetherequiredamountof
operatorattention.
Recentadvancesintechnologyhavesignificantlyreducedthecostofmembranebasedsystems.
Installationcostsarelowerbecausemembranesystemsdontrequirelargebuildingsorasmuchlandas
conventionalsystems.Operatingcostsarereducedsincetodaysmembranesproducemorewaterand
removemoreimpuritieswhileusinglessenergy.
IntheUnitedStates,regulationssuchastheSafeDrinkingWaterActandtheLongTerm2Enhanced
SurfaceWaterTreatmentRulehavehadasignificantimpactonmunicipalwatertreatment.This,in
additiontoincreasinglystringentwastewaterdischargeregulations,haspromoteddramaticgrowthin
theimplementationofmembranetechnology.
MembraneSeparationTechnology:AnOverview
Membranesprovidephysicalbarriersthatpermitthepassageofmaterialsonlyuptoacertainsize,
shapeorcharacter.Therearefourcrossflow,pressuredrivenmembraneseparationprocessescurrently
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employedforliquid/liquidandliquid/solidseparation:ultrafiltration(UF),reverseosmosis(RO),
nanofiltration(NF),andmicrofiltration(MF).Membranesaremanufacturedinavarietyof
configurationsincludinghollowfiber,spiral,andtubularshapes.Eachconfigurationoffersvarying
degreesofseparation.
Ultrafiltration:Ultrafiltration(UF)isapressuredrivenprocessthatremovesemulsifiedoils,metal
hydroxides,colloids,emulsions,dispersedmaterial,suspendedsolids,andotherlargemolecularweight
materialsfromwater.UFmembranesarecharacterizedbytheirmolecularweightcutoff.
ThemajoropportunitiesforUFinvolveclarificationofsolutionscontainingsuspendedsolids,removalof
virusesandbacteriaorhighconcentrationsofmacromolecules.Theseincludeoil/waterseparation,
fruitjuiceclarification,milkandwheyproductionandprocessing,automotiveelectrocoatpaint
filtration,purificationofpharmaceuticals,polyvinylalcoholandindigorecovery,potablewater
production,andsecondaryortertiarywastewaterreuse.
ReverseOsmosis:Themembranewiththesmallestporesisreverseosmosis(RO),whichinvolves
reversaloftheosmoticprocessofasolutioninordertodrivewaterawayfromdissolvedmolecules.RO
dependsonionicdiffusiontoeffecttheseparation.
AcommonapplicationofROisseawaterandbrackishwaterdesalination.ROisalsousedinmany
industrialprocessesincludingcheesewheyconcentration,fruitjuiceconcentration,icemaking,andcar
washwaterreclamation,andwastewatervolumereduction.Ineachoftheseexamples,thegoalis
eithertoproduceapurefiltrate(typicallywater),reducethevolumeofthewastewaterfordisposalor
retainthecomponentsofthefeedstreamastheproduct.
Nanofiltration:Nanofiltration(NF)functionssimilarlytoRO,butisgenerallytargetedtoremoveonly
divalentandlargerions.MonovalentionssuchassodiumandchloridewillpassthroughanNF
membrane,thusmanyoftheusesofNFinvolvedesaltingoftheprocessstream.Anexampleisthe
productionoflactosefromcheesewhey;theNFprocessisdesignedtoconcentratethelactose
moleculeswhilepassingsaltsaprocedurethatpurifiesandconcentratesthelactosestream.
Inwatertreatment,NFmembranesareusedforhardnessremoval(inplaceofwatersofteners),
pesticideeliminationandcolorreduction.NanofiltrationcanalsobeusedtoreclaimspentNaOH
solutions.Inthiscase,thepermeate(filtrate)streamispurifiedNaOH,allowingreusemanytimesover.
Microfiltration:Microfiltration(MF)hassignificantapplicationsinsimpledeadendfiltrationforwater
filtration,sterilebottlingoffruitjuicesandwine,andasepticusesinthepharmaceuticalindustry.
AlargeportionoftheMFmarkethasbeencapturedbycrossflow.Themostcommonoftheseare
clarificationofwholecellbrothsandpurificationprocessesinwhichmacromoleculesmustbeseparated
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A Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC Company

fromotherlargemolecules,proteinsand/orcelldebris.Clarificationofdextroseandhighlycoloredfruit
juicesemployMFextensivelyaswell.TherearealsolargemarketsforMFcrossflowfiltrationinwine
production,milk/wheydefatting,andbrewing.MFsystemsoperateatrelativelylowpressuresandare
configuredbasedupontheapplication.
ARangeofSolutions
Thereareavarietyofmembranetechnologiesandconfigurationsavailableinthemarketplace,eachof
whichprovidescertainadvantagesforspecificprocessneeds.Thekeytoasuccessfulmembrane
filtrationsystemistocarefullyevaluatethephysicalcharacteristicsoftheprocessfluid.
MembraneBioreactor(MBR)
Amembranebioreactorisabiologicalprocessthatcombinessecondaryandtertiarytreatmentusinga
membranefiltrationprocess.MBRsystemsaregrowinginpopularityforvirtuallyallwastewater
treatmentapplicationsbecausetheyoffermanyadvantagesoverconventionalwastewatertreatment
plantssuchasconsistentlyhighqualityeffluentwithlowturbidity,lowbacterialcounts,lowTSSand
NTU,whileusingfewerchemicalsthanconventionalwastewatertreatmentplants.Thefiltratequality,
inmanyinstances,issuitableforfeedingdirectlyintoanROprocess.Anadditionaladvantageofan
MBRsystemisitscompactfootprint.
Conventional Wastewater Treatment vs. MBR Technology

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HereareafewkeypointstoconsiderwhenevaluatinganMBRsystem:

IncreasedEffluentQuality:InanMBR,UFmembranemodulesaresubmergedintheactivatedsludgeto
combinethebiologicalstepandthesolidliquidseparationintoasingleprocess.Themembraneactsas
abarrier,whichimprovestheeffluentquality.AnMBRsystemeliminatesthesecondaryclarifierand
allowstheactivatedsludgetobemoreconcentrated.
ReducedSystemFootprint:InanMBRsystem,thevolumerequirementforbiologicaltanksisreduced,
savingspaceandconstructioncosts.Overall,theMBRprocessreducesfootprintsignificantly,byas
muchas50percent,comparedtothecombinationofconventionalwastewatertreatmentfollowedby
sandfiltrationorultrafiltration.
Flexibility:MBRsystemsfeatureflexiblelayoutoptions,areeasilyexpandable,haveacompact
footprint,andcanbeconfiguredtomeettheuniqueeffluentrequirementsofeachsite.
RangeofApplications:MBRsystemsareincreasinglyusedforlocationswherewaterresourcesare
scarce,reusablequalityeffluentisdesirable,spaceavailabilityislimited,and/orstringentdischarge
standardsareineffect.Theselocationsincludesmallcommunities,housingdevelopments,commercial
developments,miningcamps,resorts,hotels,malls,schools,andgolfcourses,amongothers.TheMBRis
alsoemployedforindustrialapplicationstorecycleprocesswatertoreducewastewaterdisposalcosts.
HollowFiber
HollowfibermembranesarealsobasedonUFtechnology.Dependingontheapplication,hollowfiber
membranescanbehighlypracticalandcosteffectivealternativestoconventionalchemicalandphysical
separationprocesses.
Hereareafewkeypointstoconsider:
ModeofOperation:Hollowfibercartridgesoperatewithflowsfromoutsidetoinside,orinsideto
outsidewithfluidflowingthroughthecenterandpermeatepassingthroughthefiberwalltotheoutside
ofthemembrane,adesignthatishighlyflexibleandeasilyhandleslargevolumesforcirculation,dead
end,andsinglepassoperations.Otheroperatingtechniquesthatcanbeemployedwithhollowfiber
membranesystemsincludebackflushingwithpermeateandretentatereverseflow.

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DurableConstruction:Duetotheirstructuralintegrityandconstruction,hollowfibermembranescan
withstandpermeatebackpressure,thusallowingflexibilityinsystemdesignandoperation.
HighEfficiency:Hollowfibermembraneshaveaphysicalmembranebarrierprovidesconsistent
permeatequality.Theyofferacompact,costeffectivesolutionforfilteringlargevolumesofliquids
utilizingminimalspaceandenergy.Hollowfibermembranescanbebackflushedtoremovesolidsfrom
themembraneinsidesurface,thusextendingthetimebetweenchemicalcleaningcycles.
Flexibility:HollowFibermembranesareavailableinUFandMFtechnologiesandcomeinanarrayof
diameters.HollowFibermembranesfeatureahighmembranepackingdensityresultinginsystemswith
asmallfootprint.Systemscanbeconfiguredtoarangeofflowcapacities.
RangeofApplications:Hollowfibermembraneshavebeensuccessfullyemployedinawidevarietyof
applicationsincludingmunicipalwaterandwastewatertreatment,industrialbiotechnology,andinthe
food,beverage,dairy,andwineindustries.
Spirals
Forfeedwaterswithahighconcentrationofdissolvedsolids,suchasseawater,membranesinthe
spiralwoundconfigurationaretheoptimalsolution.SpiralmembranescommonlyemployROorNF
technology.
Hereareafewkeypointstoconsider:
ModeofOperation:Feedsolutionsenteroneendoftheelement,flowingunderpressurethroughthe
membraneintopermeatechannels,spiraltothecentralcore,andexitaspermeate.

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HighEfficiency:Spiralelementsaremadefromlayersofflatsheetmembranesandfeedseparators

wrappedaroundahollowcore.Thisconfigurationoffersthehighestmembranepackingareacapability
withthesmallestfootprint.Spiralelementsarerobust,energyefficient,andeconomicaltooperate.

Flexibility:Spiralmembranesareavailableinavarietyofmaterials,diametersandlengths.Spiral
membranesreliablyremovedissolvedsolidsfromavarietyofsourcewaters;generallyreverseosmosis
andnanofiltrationspiralmembranesservethewaterandwastewatermarket,whileultrafiltrationand
microfiltrationspiralmembranesareusedintheindustrialandlifesciencesmarkets.
RangeofApplications:Spiralwoundmembraneshavequicklybecomethemostprevalentofallthe
availablemembraneconfigurations.Theyexcelatseawaterdesalination,brackishwatertreatment,
watersoftening,andorganicsremoval.Sanitaryspiralsarewidelyusedindairy,food,and
pharmaceuticalapplications,allowingforhighrejectionwithoutcompromisingyield.
Tubular
Whilevirtuallyanymembranedesigncanbeappliedtowaterlikeliquidswithlowconcentrationsof
suspendedsolids,viscousstreamsandfluidswithlargeamountsofsolidsarebesthandledwithtubular
membranes,whicharespecificallydesignedforthispurpose.
Hereareafewkeypointstoconsider:
ModeofOperation:Tubularmembranesoperateintangential,orcrossflow,designwhereprocessfluid
ispumpedalongthemembranesurfaceinasweepingaction.Thisdesignmaintainsstablefiltration
ratesforprocessstreamswithhighconcentrationsofparticlesormacromoleculessuchascells,proteins
andprecipitates.
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DurableConstruction:Tubularmembraneshavearuggedconstructionmadeofsturdypolymeric
materials,sotheycaneasilyprocesshighsuspendedsolidsandconcentrateproductproficientlyand
repeatedlytohighendpointconcentrationlevelswithoutplugging.
HighEfficiency:Durableandlonglasting,lowenergytubularmembraneconfigurationsareeasyto
operate,runincontinuous,reproducibleprocessingcycles,andofferoptimalproductivity,highflux,and
highrecovery.
Flexibility:TubularmembranesareavailableinUFandMFtechnologiesandcomeinanarrayof
diameters.Theycanbepurchasedasindividualelementsorincompactsystemscoveringarangeof
capacities.
RangeofApplications:Tubularmembranesarewellsuitedforjuiceclarification,easilyremoving
suspendedsolids,colloidalhazeparticles,microorganisms,andundesirableproteinswithouttheneed
fordiatomaceousearth.Intoughindustrialenvironments,tubularmembranesareidealfordifficultto
treatwastewatercontaminatedwithoil,grease,heavymetals,andsuspendedsolids.Tubular
membranesoperatesuccessfullywithinawidepHandtemperaturerangewithoutplugging.
ChooseanExperiencedMembraneSupplier
KochMembraneSystems(KMS)canhelpyouevaluateyourspecificapplicationrequirementsand
determinewhichmembraneproductisthebestsolutionforyourfluidseparationneeds.KMScanalso
helpexistingmembraneusersenhancetheperformanceandextendthelifeoftheirmembranesby
improvingsystemoperating,cleaningandmaintenanceprocedures.Formoreinformationabout
designingasystemtomeetyourneeds,pleasevisitKMSonlineatwww.kochmembrane.com.

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A Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC Company

2013KochMembraneSystems,Inc.
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KochMembraneSystems,Inc.isaKochChemicalTechnologyGroup,LLCCompany.

850 Main Street Wilmington, Massachusetts 01887-3388


TEL 1-888-677-KOCH (5624) TEL 1-978-694-7000 FAX 1-978-657-5208