Oxygen air enrichment through composite membrane: application to an aerated biofilm reactor


Braz. J. Chem. Eng.




A highly permeable composite hollow-fibre membrane developed for air separation was used in a membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR). The composite membrane consisted of a porous support layer covered with a thin dense film, which was responsible for oxygen enrichment of the permeate stream. Besides oxygen enrichment capability, dense membranes overcome major operational problems that occur when using porous membranes for oxygen transfer to biofilms. Air flow rate and oxygen partial pressure inside the fibres were the variables used to adjust the oxygen transfer rate. The membrane aerated biofilm reactor was operated with hydraulic retention times (HRT) ranging from 1 to 4 hours. High organic load removal rates, like 6.5 kg.m-3.d-1, were achieved due to oxygen transfer rates as high as 107 kg.m-3.d-1. High COD removals, with improved oxygen transfer efficiency, indicate that a MABR is a compact alternative to the conventional activated sludge process and that the selected membrane is suitable for further applications.

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