Submerged versus side-stream osmotic membrane bioreactors using an outer-selective hollow fiber osmotic membrane for desalination

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Van Huy Tran
  • Sungil Lim
  • Dong Suk Han
  • Sherub Phuntsho
  • Hokyong Shon

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Original languageEnglish
Article number115196
Journal / PublicationDesalination
Online published26 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


This study investigated the comparative performances, fouling mitigation efficiencies, and operational costs of sidestream and submerged osmotic membrane bioreactors (OMBR) systems using an outer-selective hollow fiber thinfilm composite forward osmosis (OSHF TFC FO) membrane. Generally, the submerged OMBR system exhibited the higher fouling mitigation efficiency and a much slower flux decline rate when compared with that of the sidestream system. The side-stream OMBR system demonstrated an initial water flux of 15.8 LMH using 35 g/L NaCl as the draw solution, which was 2-fold higher than that of the submerged system when at its optimal performance. However, salinity accumulation in the reactor of the side-stream system was at a higher rate than for the submerged OMBR system. Both OMBR systems showed comparably high pollutant removal efficiencies over the experimental period. Annual operating costs for the side-stream OMBR system has been estimated to be 38% higher (OPEX) than for the submerged system. Membrane replacement cost accounted for the majority of the OPEX, over 89%, while the energy consumption and cleaning costs only accounted for relatively small portions. Therefore, reducing the membrane replacement cost is critical to realizing the commercial viability of the submerged OMBR system.

Research Area(s)

  • Submerged module, Side-stream module, Outer-selective hollow fiber, Membrane fouling, Operating cost, Osmotic membrane bioreactor, DRAW SOLUTION, WASTE-WATER, REVERSE-OSMOSIS, HYBRID SYSTEM, PERFORMANCE, FLUX, MBR, ULTRAFILTRATION, NANOFILTRATION, OPERATION

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