In this study, membrane filtration as an internal purification method, “the kidney7rdquo;, in the pulp and paper industry is discussed. Membrane filtration is economically competitive and a very versatile process. It can be used to remove the enriched organic and/or inorganic loads either partially or totally from, for example, the mechanical pulping and paper making water circuits and it can be applied to various points within the process. With the so-called shear enhanced membrane modules very high fluxes, in ultrafiltration about 400 L/(m2h) and in nanofiltration fluxes almost 200 L/(m2h), have been obtained. Depending on the membrane, suspended solids (microfiltration), polysaccharides, extractives and high molar mass lignous substances (ultrafiltration) and multivalent salts (nanofiltration) can be removed. Ultrafiltration permeate can well be used in paper machine showers to replace fresh water. The quality of the nanofiltration permeate is significantly higher than that of ultrafiltration. The membrane processes can be enhanced by various pre-treatment techniques to produce higher permeate fluxes and to eliminate membrane fouling. Such pre-treatment methods are, e.g., chemical treatment, ozonation and biological treatment. The most cost-effective processes were chemical flocculation, pH adjustment and thermophilic aerobic biological treatment.

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