3rd Post: Reactor Acquisition
It has been a while since the last post. Things have moved forward with the project: we have moved from our University’s lab to a wastewater treatment plant for our piloting needs. The equipment for pretreating the reject water has been constructed and optimized so that the influent for the membrane reactor contains around 200 mg/l suspended solids.
Membrane reactor has been a tad problematic though. Currently available commercial membrane reactors dictate more or less the same design philosophy; the membrane is packed tightly in small space with high pressure capacity. The downside of this is that any solids in the influent flow clog or harm the membranes and it is rather expensive to remove all the solids.
With our design choice, this is not a problem. However, acquiring such a reactor is challenging. In our lab sized pilot the reactor was easy enough to manufacture ourselves but building a reactor with 150-fold up scaled volume and even larger membrane surface area suits better for a contractor. The process of finding such as contractor takes a longer time than expected.
We also have tested the process with one of these commercial reactors. It worked relatively well under a very short test run but it is unclear how long the reactor can perform well under a longer stress test. We’ll see after this week.