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Membrane bioreactor technology improves treatment of high-organic-content water

By Scott Jenkins |

A next-generation, carbon-enhanced membrane-bioreactor (MBR) system improves treatment of industrial wastewater with high organic content and containing compounds that resist microbial breakdown. The system allows economic reuse of wastewater or discharge to meet stringent environmental standards. The new MBR, dubbed EcoRight, will be commercially available in early 2011. First envisioned by Saudi Aramco (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; www.saudiaramco.com), the technology was developed jointly with Siemens Water Technologies Corp. (Warrendale, Pa.; www.siemens.com/water). EcoRight’s key technological innovation involves the use of granular activated carbon (GAC), rather than powdered activated carbon (PAC), to adsorb organic contaminants in the wastewater. In PAC-containing MBR systems, PAC can cause varying degrees of abrasion on microfiltration membranes, explains Siemens sales and marketing director Tom Schultz. “That can result in higher operating costs due to shorter membrane life.” EcoRight technology isolates the GAC from the membranes, almost entirely eliminating abrasion associated with using PAC. EcoRight developers have invented a proprietary technique for keeping the GAC in suspension inside the MBR without using…
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