Irreversible membrane fouling abatement through pre-deposited layer of hierarchical porous carbons
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Environmental Science and Engineering Program
Water Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC)
Environmental Nanotechnology Lab
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AbstractIn this work, dual-templated hierarchical porous carbons (HPCs), produced from a coupled ice-hard templating approach, are shown to be a highly effective solution to the commonly occurring problem of irreversible fouling of low-pressure membranes used for pre-treatment in wastewater reuse. For the first time, dual-templated HPCs, along with their respective counterparts - single-templated meso-porous carbon (MPCs) (without macropores) - are tested in terms of their fouling reduction capacity and ability to remove different effluent organic matter fractions present in wastewater and compared with a commercially available powdered activated carbon (PAC). The synthesized HPCs provided exceptional fouling abatement, a 4-fold higher fouling reduction as compared to the previously reported best performing commercial PAC and ~2.5-fold better fouling reduction than their respective mesoporous counterpart. Thus, it is shown that not only mesoporosity, but macroporosity is also necessary to achieve high fouling reduction, thus emphasizing the need for dual templating. In the case of HPCs, the pre-deposition technique is also found to outperform the traditional sorbent-feed mixing approach, mainly in terms of removal of fouling components. Based on their superior performance, a high permeability (ultra-low-pressure) membrane consisting of the synthesized HPC pre-deposited on a large pore size membrane support (0.45μm membrane), is shown to give excellent pre-treatment performance for wastewater reuse application. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
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