Finned spacer for efficient membrane fouling control in produced water filtration

R. Rahmawati, M. R. Bilad, Afiq Mohd Laziz, N. A.H.M. Nordin, Norwahyu Jusoh, Zulfan Adi Putra, T. M.I. Mahlia, J. Jaafar

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Membrane based technologies are highly reliable for water and wastewater treatment, including for removal of total oil and grease from produced water. However, performances of the pressure driven processes are highly restricted by membrane fouling and the application of traditional air bubbling system is limited by their low shear stress due to poor contacts with the membrane surface. This study develops and assesses a novel finned spacer, placed in between vertical panel, for membrane fouling control in submerged plate-and-frame module system for real produced water filtration. Results show that permeability of the panel is enhanced by 87% from 201 to 381 L/(m2 h bar). The spacer system can be operated in switching mode to accommodate two-sided panel aeration. This leads to panel permeability increment by 22% higher than the conventional vertical system. The mechanisms of finned spacer in encouraging the flow trajectory was proven by visual observation and flow simulation. The fins alter the air bubbles flow trajectory toward the membrane surface to effectively scour-off the foulant. Overall results demonstrate the efficacy of the developed spacer in projecting the air bubble trajectory toward the membrane surface and thus significantly enhances membrane panel productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109359
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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    Rahmawati, R., Bilad, M. R., Laziz, A. M., Nordin, N. A. H. M., Jusoh, N., Putra, Z. A., Mahlia, T. M. I., & Jaafar, J. (2019). Finned spacer for efficient membrane fouling control in produced water filtration. Journal of Environmental Management, 249, [109359].