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A vailable online at www.sciencedirect.com Chemical Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164 Wastewater recycling

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

A vailable online at www.sciencedirect.com Chemical Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164 Wastewater recycling

Chemical Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164

Chemical Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164 Wastewater recycling in laundries—From pilot to

Wastewater recycling in laundries—From pilot to large-scale plant

Jan Hoinkis a, , Volker Panten b

a Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany b Textil-Service Klingelmeyer GmbH & Co. KG, 64297 Darmstadt, Germany

Received 28 November 2006; received in revised form 5 October 2007; accepted 10 December 2007 Available online 25 December 2007

Abstract

A new, innovative wastewater recycling process for industrial laundries has been developed through cooperation between Textil-Service Klin- gelmeyer (a medium-size laundry in Darmstadt, Germany) and the University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe, Germany. The project “Laundry Innovative Wastewater Recycling Technology—LIWATEC” was sponsored by the European Community in its LIFE-Environment programme. The purpose of the LIWATEC project was to design and start up a new, innovative, integrated process using membrane technology for wastewater reuse on a large scale in the Klingelmeyer laundry. The large scale plant was designed for wastewater treatment capacity of 200 m 3 /day. This integrated process has been successfully tested for 5 years in the form of two pilot plants at the laundry in Darmstadt and at the University of Karlsruhe (capacities: 10 m 3 /day and <1 m 3 /day). The pilot plant data provided a scale up basis for designing the large plant. This paper gives a summary of the pilot plant data in comparison with the initial results of the large-scale unit, which went into operation in June 2006. The integrated process comprises a membrane bioreactor (MBR) with submerged plate and frame microfiltration membranes as the principal cleaning unit. The results of the pilot agree with those of the large-scale plant. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency was around 90%; the average flux was approximately 14 L/m 2 h. The MBR permeate provides a water quality that can be used as washing water since it fully meets the requirements of the washing process. Part of the MBR permeate is subsequently treated by reverse osmosis (RO) filtration using spiral wound modules in order to remove salts. The average flux of the RO unit is 25–30 L/m 2 h at around 16 bar. The salt retention rate exceeds 99%. The high quality of the reverse osmosis permeate meets the demands of the rinsing processes. In general, up to 90% of total wastewater can be reused. Moreover, it is an easy-handling and cost-efficient wastewater recycling process that could be adapted to different types of laundries due to its modular structure. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Laundry; Wastewater recycling; Water reuse; Water management; Membrane bioreactor; Membrane filtration; Reverse osmosis

1. Introduction

The implementation of water-reuse concepts has become an important operational and environmental issue in the industrial sector. Wastewater recycling is an effective tool for sustainable industrial development. Despite considerable progress regard- ing water-saving action in industry, commercial laundries are still emitting relatively high quantities of wastewater. So these plants can be still considered as very process water intensive fac- tories. Besides conventional treatment and reuse technologies, membrane technologies have been studied particularly inten- sively in recent years in the textile industry and laundries [1–5].

Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: jan.hoinkis@hs-karlsruhe.de (J. Hoinkis), panten@klingelmeyer.de (V. Panten).

0255-2701/$ – see front matter © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.cep.2007.12.010

However, most of this research and development work has been carried out for scientific purposes only, either in a lab or on a small pilot scale, and none of these publications has extensively studied the combination of MBR and RO for wastewater reuse in laundries for large-scale application. Furthermore, the processes which have been studied were mostly used for low polluted wastewater. At best, all existing reuse processes usually have a water recycling portion of only 70–80%. The main motivating factors for the Textil-Service Klin- gelmeyer laundry in Darmstadt in implementing the “Laundry Innovative Wastewater Recycling Technology—LIWATEC” project in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe relate largely to legislation and economics (high costs of fresh water and wastewater disposal) [6,7]. Klingelmeyer is a medium-size laundry with 200 employees at two locations. The purpose of this project was to develop an integrated process using MBR and RO technology that robustly and economically pro-

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/ Chemical Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164 Fig. 1. Flow chart of the recycling process.

Fig. 1. Flow chart of the recycling process.

duces high-quality water for reuse. A further aim was to develop

a process with an almost completely closed water system and to

adapt the current washing and process chemicals to the treatment process. This integrated membrane process can be regarded as the most suitable technique currently available in the market for the purification and reuse of laundry wastewater. The aim of this paper is to detail the initial experience with the large-scale plant in comparison with the results of preceding pilot-scale trials.

2. Description of the recycling process

This innovative, integrated process has been developed through cooperation between the University of Applied Sci- ences, Karlsruhe, and Textil-Service Klingelmeyer. In the course of the project, extensive research was undertaken to study mem-

brane processes at bench and pilot scale in order to produce effluent suitable for direct reuse in the laundry. The wastewater is treated in a two-step process and is recycled in the laundry wash- ing process (see Fig. 1). After coarse screening using a vibrating sieve to retain suspended particles, the wastewater is collected in a storage tank (AW). Subsequently, the wastewater is treated in a membrane bioreactor as the principal cleaning unit. Air is injected into the reactor to scour the membranes and to drive the biological treatment. The microfiltration permeate is stored in

a collecting tank (WW). It is free of turbidity and considerably

reduced in microbes and can be reused for the washing process. Some of the microfiltration permeate is treated in a second step by a low pressure reverse osmosis unit with spiral wound mod- ules to retain mainly salts. The RO permeate, which is stored in a collecting tank (SW), is used as high-quality water, primarily for rinsing processes. Prior to storage, the RO permeate is treated by a small amount of chlorine dioxide to prevent any growth of germs. Since rainwater does not meet the water quality criteria for the process, it is introduced in the wastewater collecting tank. The integrated process generates two kind of waste that needs to be disposed. The surplus sludge is stored in a separate tank and is collected by commercial waste management enterprises. The concentrate from the RO treatment is drained to the municipal treatment plant.

3. Analytical methods and plant components

3.1. Parameter analysis

A handheld unit WTW pH 325 was used for pH measure and a WTW Cond 315i was used for conductivity measurement. The parameters COD, Total N, P–PO 4 3 were measured by a Merck Spectroquant ® test kit. The heavy metals were analysed by ICP Agilent 7500, according to German standard DIN 38406. AOX was measured by TOX-10 Abimed according to European standard EN 1485 and total hardness according German standard DIN 38406 1 .

3.2. Plant components

The pilot-scale and the large-scale unit are each basically composed of

- vibrating sieve (company Sweco) with mesh size 200 m,

- MBR reactor,

- reverse osmosis filtration unit and

- three storage tanks (wastewater, MBR permeate, RO perme- ate)

The pilot and large-scale MBR reactors contain submerged Kubota Type 510 microfiltration plate and frame membranes (single plate: 0.8 m 2 ) with 0.4 m pore size, made of chlori- nated polyethylene. The MBR reactor of the pilot unit was a cylindrical tank with ca. 1.4 m diameter and total volume of 5 m 3 , containing 35 plate and frame Kubota membranes (28 m 2 total membrane area). The large-scale MBR tank has a total volume of 125 m 3 . It is separated by a barrier in two compart- ments connected by a spill. One compartment is designed only for biodegradation, the other for biodegradation and membrane filtration; this gives maximum flexibility for adjusting aeration to the needs of the filtration and biodegradation process. The

1 The ICP and AOX measurement was conducted by Weßling, Laboratorium GmbH, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany.

J. Hoinkis, V. Panten / Chemical Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164

Table 1 Feed and drain water quality of the pilot-scale membrane bioreactor

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Parameter

Unit

Feed a (wastewater)

Permeate a (microfiltrate)

Limits for washing water in laundries

Temperature pH Electrical conductivity Total hardness COD AOX Total N P–PO 4 3 Fe Mn Cu

C

15–30

15–30

9–11

7–8

S/cm

1900

2000

dH

Not measured

2.5–3

5 dH

mg/L

1050

60–70

150

mg/L

0.06

0.04

mg/L

40

2

mg/L

5

3

mg/L

Not measured

0.1–0.6

0.1

mg/L

Not measured

0.02

0.03

mg/L

Not measured

0.01

0.05

a Typically average values based on several measurements.

biomass is circulated between both compartments every other day. The filtration compartment contains two double deck Kub- ota stacks System EK300 with 600 plate and frame modules (total membrane area of 480 m 2 ). The reverse osmosis pilot plant consisted of a housing for two 4040 spiral wound membrane modules. The large-scale unit contains housing for six 8040 spiral wound modules. The pilot plant was composed of three collecting tanks (wastewater, MBR drain, RO drain), the first with a volume of 45 m 3 , and the lat- ter with volumes of 27 m 3 . In the large-scale unit these were replaced by enamelled steel collecting tanks of 400 m 3 for the wastewater and 200 m 3 for MBR drain and RO drain.

4. Pilot-scale results

The pilot-scale experiments were used to gain experience with the designed process and to obtain the database for scaling up. Initial experiments were conducted at the laboratory at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. For this purpose, a household washing machine and a small-scale MBR and RO unit (capacity <1 m 3 /day) were used, mainly to adapt and optimise the washing agents and additives to the treatment process (see [8–10]). The performance of different kinds of chemicals was investigated extensively with regard to washing efficiency and membrane interference. These results led to the development of an optimised modular washing system. From 1999 to 2004, Textil-Service Klingelmeyer operated a pilot-scale recycling treatment unit to reuse some part of its wastewater (10 m 3 /d) in the laundry. The wastewater treatment unit was connected to a washing machine with 120 kg loading in which all kind of relevant textiles were treated. The quality of the recycling water fully met the requirements of the washing process.

4.1. Membrane bioreactor

The average flux of the MBR unit remained around 14 L/m 2 h at a transmembrane pressure of around 110 mbar, resulting in permeability of 127 L/m 2 h bar. The injected air flow was set around 0.7 m 3 /min. Despite considerable fluctuation in the feed-water composition, the COD elimination rate in the

MBR unit averaged 95%. The effluent COD value was always lower than 100 mg/L, but typically averaged 60–70 mg/L (see Table 1). Under different hydraulic retention times of the reactor (20–30 h), no significant change of the drain COD was observed. The quality of the microfiltrate greatly influences the washing process. High values of total hardness (concentration of Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ ions) reduces the washing quality. The optimal values for total hardness are between 0 and 5 dH. The concentration of the heavy metals iron, copper and manganese are of special inter- est for the washing process because these substances can cause a catalytic decomposition of peroxides. Peroxides are used in the washing process as bleaching and disinfecting agents. The decomposition process leads to the formation of reactive radi- cals, which can cause textile damage, so there are certain limits for the concentration of these substances in laundries (accord- ing to German quality mark RAL-GZ 992). The concentration of these contaminants was therefore analysed in the microfiltrate. Only the iron content was in some cases higher than the limit, due to some corrosive iron parts used in the construction of the pilot plant. The large-scale plant was designed using only either stainless steel or plastics. The results are discussed in more detail in [11].

4.2. Membrane filtration unit

During the pilot phase, two nanofiltration (GE Osmonics DL, Dow Thinfilm NF 90) and a low-energy reverse osmosis mem- brane (Dow Thinfilm XLE) were tested. The pilot tests showed that the salt rejection of the nanofiltration membranes (controlled by electrical conductivity) was only 50–55%, which meant the water quality was not sufficient for the rinsing process. Salt retention using reverse osmosis was 98%—significantly higher than that achieved by the nanofiltration. This might by due to the fact that the feed water contains carbonate salt, which is used as a builder in the washing agent. The pK a value of the hydrogencar- bonate/carbonate equilibrium HCO 3 CO 3 2 + H + is 10.4. Hence at feed pH 8, most of the carbonate salt exists in the form of the monovalent HCO 3 , which can be retained much more effectively by reverse osmosis. The average flux using DOW XLE was 25 L/(m 2 h) at 13 bar. The conductivity decreased from about 2000 S/cm down to 40 S/cm (see Table 2). In addition,

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Table 2 Permeate and concentrate water quality of membrane filtration unit

Parameter

Unit

Permeate a

Concentrate a

Limits according German legislation (direct discharge, appendix 55)

pH

6–7

8–9

Conductivity

S/cm

Maximum 40

5000–8000

Total

hardness

dH

<0.5

Not measured

COD

mg/L

Maximum 30

Maximum 400

100

AOX

mg/L

Not measured

0.13

2

Cd

mg/L

Not measured

<0.004

0.1

Hg

mg/L

Not measured

<0.0002

0.05

Pb

mg/L

Not measured

<0.02

0.5

Cu

mg/L

Not measured

0.015

0.5

Total Cr

mg/L

Not measured

0.032

0.5

Ni

mg/L

Not measured

0.05

0.5

Zn

mg/L

Not measured

1.5

2

a Typically average values based on several measurements.

some of the residual COD had been retained as well. The quality of the washing process was regularly tested using standardised testing textiles. Furthermore, a variety of additional analysis (for example, pH, MLSS, Total N, P–PO 4 3 , heavy metals) were per- formed (see Tables 1 and 2) in order to investigate the efficiency of the membrane bioreactor and the RO process. The results are discussed in more detail in [11].

5. Large scale results

The newly developed integrated process and an optimised washing system has been used in the scale-up phase at Textil- Service Klingelmeyer since November 2004. The project was funded by the European Commission’s LIFE programme. The large-scale unit is designed for a total wastewater capacity of 200 m 3 /d. The wastewater treatment unit went into operation in June 2006. The membrane bioreactor (V = 125 m 3 ) contains about 480 m 2 of plate and frame membranes supplied by the Kubota company. These membranes are submerged in the aer- obic tank as double-deck modules. The low pressure reverse osmosis is designed for a total membrane area of 222 m 2 , using low energy spiral wound FILMTEC RO modules from the Dow company. The PLC, visualisation and sensors were provided by the companies VIPA, Siemens and Endress & Hauser. The ini- tial experimental data obtained in this unit to date is presented in the following. After start up, the MBR unit was operated for 6 months in the open loop in order to take time to adapt the bio- cenosis. During the first phase, only the lower membrane stack was in operation. Up to now, only part of the MBR treated water (40–50 m 3 /day) has been used for washing subsequent to RO treatment. The recycling unit is scheduled to be in full operation by the end of 2007.

5.1. Membrane bioreactor

The MBR reactor’s feed COD is lower than that in the pilot plant due to different wastewater composition, whereas the effluent COD has almost same level (see Table 3, Fig. 2). The average COD and TOC removal efficiency is higher than 90%. The Total N in the feed is well below those in the pilot

Table 3 Feed and drain water quality of large-scale membrane bioreactor

Parameter

Unit

Feed a (waste water)

Permeate a

 

(microfiltrate)

Temperature pH Electrical conductivity TOC COD Total N P–PO 4 3

C

30–40

28–39

10.8–11.5

8.2–8.6

S/cm

2000

2000

mg/L

300

12

mg/L

700

60

mg/L

8

12

mg/L

7

3

a Typically average values based on several measurements.

plant and remains almost constant. It may differ slightly due to measurement uncertainty. The value for P–PO 4 3 is similar to the value in the pilot plant. No cleaning of the MBR unit has been necessary after 6 months of operation. The average flux remained around 14 L/m 2 h at a transmembrane pressure lower than 50 mbar (see Fig. 3), resulting in a membrane per- meability of at least 280 L/m 2 h bar. After day 45, the flux was increased slightly, resulting in a marginal increase of transmem- brane pressure. The aeration rate in the filtration compartment of the MBR tank is 5.2 m 3 /min. The biodegradation compart- ment is intermittently aerated by a fine diffuser at 7.2 m 3 /min. The flux rate does not represent full flow capacity; the plant

flux rate does not represent full flow capacity; the plant Fig. 2. COD in feed/drain and

Fig. 2. COD in feed/drain and COD removal efficiency of the MBR.

J. Hoinkis, V. Panten / Chemical Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164

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Engineering and Processing 47 (2008) 1159–1164 1163 Fig. 3. Flux and transmembrane pressure of the MBR.

Fig. 3. Flux and transmembrane pressure of the MBR.

1163 Fig. 3. Flux and transmembrane pressure of the MBR. Fig. 4. Mixed liquor suspended solids

Fig. 4. Mixed liquor suspended solids and COD sludge loading of the MBR.

has been designed for an eventual flux rate of 15–20 L/m 2 h. The mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) concentration in the reactor increased from 3 to 9 kg/m 3 (see Fig. 4). The COD sludge loading decreased from 0.14 to 0.04 kg COD /kg MLSS day. The average yield factor for biomass growth is calculated to 0.13 kg MLSS per kg COD degraded. The surplus sludge is col- lected in a storage tank and delivered to a commercial sludge processing unit.

5.2. Reverse osmosis unit

Some of the microfiltrated water is treated by reverse osmosis filtration. This filtration unit is very important for the recycling process because it prevents an increase in the salt level although there is a steady influx of salts by washing agents and the bio- logical mineralization process. Furthermore, RO treatment leads to a better quality water, which is mainly used as rinsing water. The concentrate is discharged to the municipal treatment plant. Eventually, low energy spiral wound FILMTEC modules – type LE-400 from Dow – were selected for the large-scale unit. The Dow LE membrane was preferred to the Dow XLE, which was tested on the pilot scale, since its salt retention was better (see Dow product sheets [12]). Table 4 provides typical ranges of

Table 4 Permeate and concentrate water quality of the reverse osmosis unit

Parameter

Unit

Permeate a

Concentrate a

pH

6–7

8–9

Electrical conductivity

S/cm

20–30

5000–6000

Total

hardness

dH

0

Not measured

COD Total N P–PO 4 3

mg/L

Maximum 45

Maximum 100

mg/L

<0.5

Not measured

mg/L

0.8

Not measured

a Typically average values based on several measurements.

water quality. The water quality is similar to the results in the pilot-scale unit. The average flux of the RO unit is 25–30 L/m 2 h at around 16 bar. The average recovery of the RO unit has been kept at 70% so far; from the experience gained, it is expected that it can be increased up to at least 80%.

6. Conclusions and outlook

In general, it can be concluded that the treatment of laundry wastewater by a combination of MBR and RO treatment results in water quality that fully meets the quality requirement of the washing process. This has been verified by extensive pilot-scale trials. A large-scale treatment unit (capacity: 200 m 3 /day) was designed and put into operation, based on the pilot-scale results. The initial results from the large-scale unit agree very closely with the pilot-scale results. The average COD and TOC removal efficiency in the MBR reactor with immersed Kubota mem- branes is higher than 90%. The average flux was approximately 14 L/m 2 h at a transmembrane pressure lower than 50 mbar. The MBR permeate can be reused for the washing process. Subse- quently, a part of the MBR permeate is treated by low-energy spiral wound FILMTEC modules from the Dow company (Type LE-400). The salt rejection is about 99%; the flux of the RO unit is 25–30 L/m 2 h at around 16 bar. The advantages of the wastewater reuse process can be summarised as:

- Easy-handling and cost-efficient wastewater recycling system that could be adapted easily to different types of laundries due to its modular structure.

- Almost closed process water cycle; the portion of reused waste water is up to 90%.

- Very good washing results by use of a modular washing sys- tem.

- No environmentally critical waste effluents.

The recycling unit is expected to run at full capacity from end of 2007. This device should serve as a demonstration unit for other commercial laundries.

Acknowledgements

Federal State of Hessen, Germany; Federal Ministry of Edu- cation and Research, Germany (BMBF) and the European Community LIFE-Environment programme are acknowledged for provision of funding for the project. We also thank the Uni-

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versity of Darmstadt, the Environmental Ministry of Hessen, and IRC Hessen/Rheinland-Pfalz.

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