Applicability of a novel osmotic membrane bioreactor using a specific draw solution in wastewater treatment

Nguyen Cong Nguyen, Shiao Shing Chen, Hau Thi Nguyen, Huu Hao Ngo, Wenshan Guo, Chan Wen Hao, Po Hsun Lin

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40 Scopus citations


This study aims to develop a new osmotic membrane bioreactor by combining a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) with forward osmosis membrane bioreactor (FOMBR) to treat wastewater. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid disodium salt coupled with polyethylene glycol tert-octylphenyl ether was used as an innovative draw solution in this membrane hybrid system (MBBR-OsMBR) for minimizing the reverse salt flux and maintaining a healthy environment for the microorganism community. The results showed that the hybrid system achieved a stable water flux of 6.94L/m2h and low salt accumulation in the bioreactor for 68days of operation. At a filling rate of 40% (by volume of the bioreactor) of the polyethylene balls used as carriers, NH4+-N and PO43--P were almost removed (>99%) while producing relatively low NO3--N and NO2--N in the effluent (e.g. <0.56 and 0.96mg/L, respectively). Furthermore, from analysis based on scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and fluorescence emission-excitation matrix spectrophotometry, there was a thin gel-like fouling layer on the FO membrane, which composed of bacteria as well as biopolymers and protein-like substances. Nonetheless, the formation of these fouling layers of the FO membrane in MBBR-OsMBR was reversible and removed by a physical cleaning technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-594
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2015


  • Carrier
  • Draw solution
  • Forward osmosis
  • Moving bed biofilm
  • Osmotic membrane bioreactor


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