A novel membrane bioreactor (MBR) pilot system, using membrane reciprocation instead of air scouring, was operated at constant high flux and daily fluctuating flux to demonstrate its application under peak and diurnal flow conditions. Low and stable transmembrane pressure was achieved at 40 l/m2/h (LMH) by use of repetitive membrane reciprocation. The results reveal that the inertial forces acting on the membrane fibers effectively propel foulants from the membrane surface. Reciprocation of the hollow fiber membrane is beneficial for the constant removal of solids that may build up on the membrane surface and inside the membrane bundle. The membrane reciprocation in the reciprocating MBR pilot consumed less energy than coarse air scouring used in conventional MBR systems. Specific energy consumption for the membrane reciprocation was 0.072 kWh/m3 permeate produced at 40 LMH flux, which is 75% less than for a conventional air scouring system as reported in literature without consideration of energy consumption for biological aeration (0.29 kWh/m3). The daily fluctuating flux test confirmed that the membrane reciprocation is effective to handle fluctuating flux up to 50 LMH. The pilot-scale reciprocating MBR system successfully demonstrated that fouling can be controlled via 0.43 Hz membrane reciprocation with 44 mm or higher amplitude.

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