Pretreatment for the reclamation of rendering plant secondary effluent with NF/RO: UF flat sheet versus UF hollow fiber membranes

Research paper by M. Racar, K. Obajdin, D. Dolar, K. Košutić

Indexed on: 18 Dec '19Published on: 18 Dec '19Published in: Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy


Rendering plants produce large amounts of wastewater that could be reused at the plant with adequate treatment. Membrane fouling is the main problem during the treatment of this type of wastewater by nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO). In order to reduce membrane fouling, the rendering plant secondary effluent was pretreated with two types of ultrafiltration (UF) membranes: MW as a flat sheet and ZW-1 as a hollow fiber membrane. The fouling on NF/RO flat sheet membranes (NF90, NF270, and XLE) was evaluated with the resistance-in-series model, while the fouling mechanisms were assessed with crossflow models. The UF, NF, and RO permeates were characterized to determine its suitability for reuse in the rendering plant. ZW-1 reduced the flux decline by 67.0% for NF270, 1.6% for NF90, and 38.0% for XLE; while MW reduced the flux decline by 72.4% for NF270, 50.1% for NF90, and 68.1% for XLE. The pretreatment with MW resulted in higher fouling reduction and a permeate that is appropriate for industrial reuse (washing purposes in the rendering plant). In terms of fouling resistance, NF270 and XLE membranes showed less fouling resistance during the treatment compared to NF90. The highest quality of permeate was obtained with XLE membrane, satisfying the water requirements for steam generation. The predominant fouling mechanisms for NF/RO were partial and complete pore blocking. The best combination for rendering plant secondary effluent reclamation was UF with MW membrane and RO with XLE membrane.

Graphical abstract 10.1007/s10098-019-01789-8.png