Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) as Alternative to a Conventional Activated Sludge System Followed by Ultrafiltration (CAS-UF) for the Treatment of Fischer-Tropsch Reaction Water from Gas-to-Liquids Industries

  • Judita Laurinonyte
  • Roel J. W. Meulepas
  • Paula van den Brink
  • Hardy Temmink


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 (F t ) of the membranes used from day 349 till the end were assessed. The average F t 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 Ultrafiltration 



This work was performed in the cooperation framework of Wetsus, European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology ( Wetsus is co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Province of Fryslân, and the Northern Netherlands Provinces. The authors like to thank the participants of the research theme “Membrane processes and operation for wastewater treatment and reuse” for the fruitful discussions and their financial support. This work is part of the research programme which is financed by the Province of Fryslân. The authors also thank Taylan Tuna, Magdalena Panecka, Ebru Acon, and Joris Burgard for their great contribution to the experimental work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judita Laurinonyte
    • 1
  • Roel J. W. Meulepas
    • 1
  • Paula van den Brink
    • 1
  • Hardy Temmink
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Wetsus, European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water TechnologyLeeuwardenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Sub-department of Environmental TechnologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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