Novel staged anaerobic fluidized bed ceramic membrane bioreactor: Energy reduction, fouling control and microbial characterization

Muhammad Aslam, Peixian Yang, Po Heng Lee, Jeonghwan Kim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Aluminum dioxide (Al2O3) flat-tubular ceramic membrane was applied in a novel staged anaerobic fluidized bed ceramic membrane bioreactor (SAF-CMBR) for low-strength wastewater treatment. Granular activated carbon (GAC) particles were fluidized by bulk recirculation through the membrane reactor to control membrane fouling without any biogas sparging. The SAF-CMBR was operated for 350 days at 25 °C with total hydraulic retention time (HRT) between 1.3 and 2.1 h. A net permeate flux of 22 L/m2h was achieved during the reactor operation combined with periodic maintenance cleaning using 25 mg/L of sodium hypochlorite solution under GAC fluidization. The overall chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency was 93%; with average SCOD was less than 30 mg/L in membrane permeate. Energy requirement to operate the SAF-CMBR was 0.024 kWh/m3and it was only 10% of the electrical energy converted from methane produced by the reactor. Biosolids production averaged 0.01 g volatile suspended solids per g COD removed. With SAF-CMBR, microbial classification revealed that anaerobic treatment was achieved mainly by microbial communities grown on the GAC particles fluidized in which propionate-degrading syntrophs, aceticlastic/DIET-dependent CO2reduction methanogens Methanothrix and exoelectrogenic Geobacter were dominated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-208
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Anaerobic fluidized membrane bioreactor
  • Ceramic membrane
  • Domestic wastewater
  • Energy recovery
  • Granular activated carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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