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Membrane (bio)fouling process control


Key words Fouling, biofouling, permeability, membrane, process control, transmembrane pressure, permeate flux
Latest version 2011/06/23
Completed by Wageningen UR - FBR

How does it work?

Primary objective Process control to prolong filter- and lifetime of the used filter media
Working principle Membrane (bio)fouling occurs during all kinds of filtration processes. It can be (partly) removed by regularly applying different strategies like high-frequency back-pulsing, back-flushing or back-washing (three different methods where the flow is temporarily in the opposite direction). The aim is to prolong filtration time and life time of the used membranes. Based on online measurements, in combination with filtration models, the optimal time for back-pulsing and/or back-washing can be selected.
Additional effects Positive:

Reduction or even avoiding the use of chemical cleaning detergents

Important process parameters transmembrane pressure, frequency of backpulsing, frequency of backwashing, pore size of the filter medium
Important product parameters viscosity, particle size distribution, turbidity, presence of gas bubbles (pressure sensitive)

What can it be used for?

Products Beverages, liquid products
Operations Membrane cleaning
Solutions for short comings Membrane technologies, Filtration technologies

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Solid products
Operations No restrictions
Other limitations Availability of suitable sensors
Risks or hazards Membrane can be harmed if applied pressure change is too large


Maturity Available for laboratory scale, pilot scale and industrial scale
Modularity /Implementation It can be inserted in an existing production line
Consumer aspects No data available
Legal aspects Please check local legislation.
Environmental aspects No data available

Further Information

Institutes Wageningen UR - FBR, University of Rome
Companies Pentair X-Flow, C-Tech Innovation, Alctra, INRA, PSUTec SPRL
References 1. EU Café (Computer-Aided Food processes for control Engineering (Project No 212754) Start: Juni 2008

2. Qaisrani, T.M. et al., Impact of gas bubbling and backflushing on fouling control and membrane cleaning, Desalination, 266 (1-3), 154-161, 2011

3. Vollebregt, H.M. et al, Suspension flow modelling in particle migration and microfiltration , Soft Matter, 6 (24), 6052-6064, 2010.

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Created by Hamoen on 17 January 2012, at 12:13