2013-09-26 13:14:16 - Membrane technologies such as reverse osmosis (RO) and ultrafiltration (UF) enable the recovery and re-use of process water from production cycles thus reducing water consumption and operating costs. However, an adequate pre-treatment is essential to prevent the growth of micro-organisms on membrane surfaces. Berkefeld’s biopROtector® technology avoids biofouling in downstream membrane modules without using chemicals.
Biofouling increases costs and downtimes
Production effluents such as condensates and exhaust vapors contain organic impurities, ammonium and phosphates. Even at low levels these residuals foster the growth of micro-organisms causing biofouling on membrane systems for water recycling. Biofouling deposits hinder the water throughput and the resulting pressure drop increases energy consumption. Membrane modules have to be serviced and cleaned more often and their lifetime decreases due to intensive cleaning. This results in lower production times and a higher risk for unexpected plant shutdowns. But conventional measures to prevent biofouling are costly and usually require aggressive cleaning chemicals.
Cost-effective and chemical-free biofouling control
The biopROtector technology removes specific components which act as nutrients for micro-organisms from the water thus reducing biofouling in
downstream membranes substantially. Without biopROtector a candle filter (5 µm, capacity: 16 l/hr) installed in the feed flow of a reverse osmosis module had to be replaced every 4-5 days. With biopROtector the candle filter lasted more than 50 days. The process does not require the use of chemicals and is particularly cost-effective and environmentally sound compared to conventional methods. The technology has already been used successfully in three companies from the food and beverage industry.