The potential of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) system to treat Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reaction water from gas-to-liquids (GTL) industries was investigated and compared with the current treatment system: a conventional activated sludge system followed by an ultrafiltration (CAS-UF) unit. The MBR and the CAS-UF systems were inoculated with municipal activated sludge and operated in parallel for 645 days with four interruptions using synthetic FT reaction water. Both treatment systems achieved a removal efficiency of 98 ± 0.1% within 60 days after inoculation, the COD influent concentration was 1014 ± 15 mg L−1. This suggests that MBRs form a suitable alternative to CAS-UF systems for the treatment of FT reaction water from the GTL industries. Moreover, the total fouling rates (Ft) of the membranes used from day 349 till the end were assessed. The average Ft was 7.3 ± 1.0 1010 m−1 day−1 for CAS-UF membranes and 2.8 ± 00.7 1010 m−1 day−1 for MBR-MT membranes. This indicates that MBR systems for the treatment of FT reaction water from the gas-to-liquids industries are less prone to fouling than CAS-UF systems.
- Conventional activated sludge
- Fischer-Tropsch reaction water
- Membrane bioreactor