With the latest innovations in production and design, ceramic ultrafiltration (UF) membranes are approaching cost parity with polymeric UF membranes. However, system design and hydraulic/pneumatic cleaning methods (backwash) associated with ceramic UF can prevent the overall system costs from being competitive. An in-depth pilot study of various approaches to hydraulic cleaning and operation cycles was conducted to determine whether appropriate conditions could be found that allow for the design of more financially-attractive ceramic UF systems. The result is an overall system cost that is competitive with that of polymeric UF. Further, a match of operating conditions makes it feasible to retrofit polymeric UF modules with ceramic UF modules with few system modifications. This paper will present the pilot test results using different hydraulic cleaning designs and outline the economic impact on the system.

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