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A cost-effective process for recycling wastewater

By Gerald Ondrey |

A wastewater treatment process that consumes less energy, produces less sludge and makes available up to 75% of the water for reuse — including that of potable water quality — has been commercialized by Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group (Munich, Germany; www.linde.com). The so-called Axenis process is suitable for treating wastewater with soluble organic pollutants, such as that generated by biodiesel production and the food, dairy, paper-and-pulp, pigments and cellulose (starches) industries, says Darren Gurney, process engineer at Linde Gases. Axenis handles wastewater with COD (chemical oxygen demand) levels in the range of 2,000 to 100,000 mg/L, he says. Axenis utilizes the patented, oxygen-based Vairox technology in a membrane bioreactor (MBR) in combination with cross-flow ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) in an integrated, automated unit. In the process (flowsheet), wastewater is first fed to an MBR, where bacteria oxidize the COD into CO2 and water. The waste stream is then pumped through a tubular UF (cutoff range of 0.001 to 0.03 microns) membrane module to remove suspended solids. Finally, RO is used to remove dissolved inorganic compounds. Final water quality with BOD (biological oxygen…
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