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A new spin on reducing membrane-filtration fouling

By Gerald Ondrey |

Last month at Filtech (Wiesbaden, Germany; October 13–15), Fil Max Inc. (Brea, Calif.; www.fmxfiltration.com) exhibited a new application for its FMX vortex-generating, membrane-filtration technology — treating wastewater from a biogas plant. Fil Max installed its first commercial system — three KFS units with 220 m2 of filtration surface area — for this application in August at a 6-MW biogas facility in Europe. The system integrator of the plant had experienced considerable problems due to clogging of the previous tubular ultrafiltration system, explains Fil Max director Tzu-Lung Lin. Pilot trials (conducted in March) demonstrated FMX technology’s ability to not only meet EU water-quality standards, but also to increase methane production in the biogas-plant digester. FMX consists of a stack of membrane filters with a vortex-generating blade sandwiched between the membranes. The blade — jointly developed by the Korean Institute of Machinery and Materials (Daejeon; www.kimm.re.kr) and Fil Max — is spun by a variable-speed drive creating a swirling pattern known as Kármán vortices, which generate a strong turbulence with minimum energy. This turbulence dislodges foulants from…
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