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Bioresour Technol. 2014 Aug;165:88-95. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.03.101. Epub 2014 Mar 29.

Scale-up of osmotic membrane bioreactors by modeling salt accumulation and draw solution dilution using hollow-fiber membrane characteristics and operation conditions.

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Department of Civil Engineering, Pukyong National University, 365 Sinseonro, Nam-gu, Busan 608-739, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:


A full-scale osmotic membrane bioreactor (OMBR) model was developed to simulate salt accumulation, draw solution (DS) dilution, and water flux over the hollow-fiber membrane length. The model uses the OMBR design parameters, DS properties, and forward osmosis (FO) membrane characteristics obtained from lab-scale tests. The modeling results revealed a tremendous water flux decline (10→0.82LMH) and short solids retention time (SRT: 5days) due to salt accumulation and DS dilution when OMBR is scaled up using commercially available DS and FO membrane. Simulated water flux is a result of interplay among reverse salt flux, internal and external concentration polarization (ICP and ECP). ECP adversely impacts water flux considerably in full-scale OMBR although it is often ignored in previous works. The OMBR model makes it possible to select better DS properties (higher flow rate and salt concentration) and FO membranes with higher water flux propensity in full-scale operation.


Draw solution dilution; Modeling; Osmotic membrane bioreactor; Salt accumulation; Scale-up

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