Short term fouling tests on homogeneous and heterogeneous anion-exchange membranes from food and bio-based industrial streams: Foulant identification and characterization
“Electrodialysis is used in food and bio-based industries for selective separation and recovery of target ions and neutral molecules. Anion exchange membranes (AEM) are prone to fouling due to their complex interactions with organics. Currently, research has focussed mainly on fouling tests using model organic foulants. In this study, three different complex industrial feed streams: corn steep liquor (CSL), citric acid by-product (CA), and cheese whey (CW), were used to foul two commercial AEM types: Fujifilm type-10 (homogeneous) and RALEX (heterogeneous). A 1.5 – 2.3 fold higher membrane resistance after fouling was a result of a difference in membrane structure, ion exchange capacity, water uptake, and thickness (depending on the feed used). Liquid Chromatography – Organic Carbon Detection (LC-OCD) analysis of feed revealed highly hydrophilic (CDOC) fractions in CSL (85%), CA (87%), and CW (100%). This analysis was extended to foulant desorption solutions (NaCl (35 g/L) and EtOH-water-H2SO4 mixtures), which revealed that > 90 % of humic substances (HS) and building blocks (BB) desorbed when using NaCl (35 g/L), following a (concentration wise) desorption order: HS > BB > LMWN > BP > LMWA. For the EtOH-water-H2SO4 solution, low molecular weight neutrals and acids (LMW(A + N)) were desorbed majorly (>60%) and followed a desorption order: LMWN > LMWA > BB > BP > HS. Desorption due to the ion-exchange mechanism was dominant for NaCl (35 g/L) solution, while foulant-desorbant polar interactions were prevalent for the EtOH-water-H2SO4 solution. Upon foulant desorption using NaCl (35 g/L) solution, RALEX AEM owing to the presence of nanovoids in them, showed a 1.5 – 4 fold higher concentration difference vs. FF10 AEM, while this difference was not dominantly observed when EtOH-water-H2SO4 mixture was used. This study revealed that LMW fractions could possibly enter into the membrane matrix whereas HS and BB fractions owing to their high molecular weight, majorly adsorbed on surfaces.”
(Citation: Phukan, R., Guttierez, L., et.al. – Short term fouling tests on homogeneous and heterogeneous anion-exchange membranes from food and bio-based industrial streams: Foulant identification and characterization – Separation and Purification Technology 322(2023)art. no. 124247 – DOI: 10.1016/j.seppur.2023.124247)
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