A new clarification system was developed to intensify a clarification step by ultrafiltration. Membrane modules equipped with capillary fibers were immersed in a reactor where a horizontal water circulation and a vertical air bubble circulation could assist in minimizing clogging inside the fiber network. Experiments were conducted with a clay particle suspension. Ferric chloride was added to induce coagulation of suspended particles. Results show that when filtering was operated under supracritical conditions clay deposit was observed on the membrane surface and a rapid increase in transmembrane pressure (TMP) value appeared. Air bubbling, and above all adding ferric chloride, allowed an actual enhancement of the filtering conditions. In optimal conditions, a very high concentrated suspension (5.0 g SS/L), filtering evolution was comparable to a clear water filtration until a 65 L/h/m2 permeate flux value (obtained under a 0.16 bar TMP), further a rapid fouling inside the fiber network appeared and obliged us to undertake specific membrane cleaning. The chosen membrane cleaning procedure showed that the particle deposit was the main fouling cause when filtering above the critical conditions.

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