Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering - Research Publications

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    Utilisation of salty whey ultrafiltration permeate with electrodialysis
    Talebi, S ; Kee, E ; Chen, GQ ; Bathurst, K ; Kentish, SE (Elsevier, 2019-12-01)
    Salty whey is a waste by-product that incurs increasingly high disposal costs for the dairy industry. This study investigated electrodialysis of the ultrafiltration permeate of salty whey as either a concentrate for the treatment of sweet whey or as a source of lactose and salt. The type of concentrate (0.1 m NaCl or salty whey permeate) did not affect the rate of sweet whey demineralisation or the energy consumed per tonne of whey, but less sodium and more divalent cations were removed when salty whey permeate was used as the concentrate. Salty whey permeate could be effectively demineralised using either 0.1 m NaCl or a second stream of salty whey permeate as the concentrate. The concentrate purity could be enhanced using monovalent selective membranes without increasing the energy consumption of the process (3.2 ± 0.3 kWh per kg of NaCl removed from the diluate at 15 V).
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    Separation Technologies for Salty Wastewater Reduction in the Dairy Industry
    Chen, GQ ; Gras, SL ; Kentish, SE (Taylor & Francis, 2019-10-02)
    The wastewater discharged by cheese manufacturing processes is highly saline. This waste is generated from whey demineralization, chromatography and clean-in-place processes. Salty effluent can be diluted with other effluents and discharged as trade waste but the high salinity can trigger penalties imposed by local water authorities. Alternatively, such waste can be sent to evaporation ponds, but in some areas in Australia, environmental impacts regarding land degradation, odor and dust have prevented further pond construction. Similar concentrate and brine management issues are emerging in the seawater desalination and mining industries. This paper reviews a range of commercial and emerging separation technologies that may be suitable to both reduce the costs of salty wastewater treatment and to improve the recoveries of dairy and salt-based products. These technologies have been commercialized or applied at a laboratory scale to the fields of desalination and brine concentration. Each technology is discussed in terms of its principle of operation and suitability for treating high-salinity dairy wastewater. The potential energy requirement and processing cost of each technology is identified with respect to feed water salinity, to provide additional insights into the energy and cost efficiencies of these technologies.
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    Fouling and in-situ cleaning of ion-exchange membranes during the electrodialysis of fresh acid and sweet whey
    Talebi, S ; Chen, GQ ; Freeman, B ; Suarez, F ; Freckleton, A ; Bathurst, K ; Kentish, SE (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2019-04-01)
    This work investigated the fouling of ion-exchange membranes during the electrodialysis of sweet and acid dairy whey. Fresh whey was used, rather than solutions made up in the laboratory, giving a unique perspective. While membrane fouling occurred in all experiments, the effects on system performance were limited. Reductions in the current during pure NaCl circulation fell to a minimum of 80% of the original value after 5 h of whey processing. The use of an alkaline concentrate resulted in the strongest increase in system resistance, but the mineral deposits formed appeared to detach readily, thereby reducing these effects. The use of an acidic concentrate gave significantly greater rates of lactic acid removal, which is important in industrial applications. A solution of HCl with a pH of 1.0 ± 0.15 was effective for in-situ cleaning of the mineral deposits. However, protein deposits were not readily removed using the recommended base cleaning formula of 3% NaCl at a pH of 9.2 ± 0.2.
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    An investigation of the impact of fouling agents in capacitive and membrane capacitive deionisation
    Hassanvand, A ; Chen, GQ ; Webley, PA ; Kentish, SE (Elsevier, 2019-05)
    The effect of organic fouling on both capacitive deionisation (CDI) and membrane capacitive deionisation (MCDI) was studied using two model foulants, the sodium salt of alginic acid and humic acid. Fouling of the activated carbon electrodes in the CDI cell was significant. The salt adsorption fell to 75% and the charge efficiency to 90% of their initial values after 18 cycles of operation with 0.5 mM CaCl 2 and 60 mg L −1 of sodium alginate. Similarly, the salt adsorption fell to 70% and the charge efficiency to 65% of their initial values after 18 cycles of operation with 60 mg L −1 of humic acid. The effect on MCDI was much more limited with these two foulants. The ability to clean the CDI cell with alkali cleaning agents was also investigated. While this cleaning was effective in restoring the salt adsorption, the alkali solution caused erosion of the activated carbon electrode or its PVDF binder, evidenced by an accumulation of carbon within the cleaning solution. Alternative electrode designs or alternative cleaning solutions will be needed if this approach is to be used in systems with similar foulants.
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    A pilot scale study on the concentration of milk and whey by forward osmosis.
    Chen, G ; Artemi, A ; Lee, J ; Gras, S ; Kentish, S (Elsevier, 2019-05-15)
    The concentration of skim milk and whey was investigated at a pilot scale using forward osmosis membranes with an installed membrane area of 24 m2. The pilot plant was operated in batch mode using a draw solution (48–57 g/L of NaCl) that mimics the potential brine streams available in a dairy processing plant. This approach avoids or limits the need for the regeneration of a synthetic draw solution. A concentration factor of ∼2.5 was achieved for both the skim milk and fresh whey, resulting in a total solids concentration of ∼21 wt% and 15 wt%, respectively. Increasing the transmembrane pressure was found to be effective in improving the water flux, whereas a much greater increase in the draw solution osmotic pressure would be needed to achieve the same enhancement of flux. This study also showed that small organic molecules, such as lactose, were not fully rejected by the forward osmosis membranes. A cleaning protocol was established for recovering the membrane performance after milk and whey concentration. The specific energy required for milk and whey concentration using only the forward osmosis step (5–10 kWh/t water removed) is much lower than that required by reverse osmosis. Forward osmosis is an energy efficient and effective process for dairy applications if unlimited access to a brine stream can be made available within or in the proximity of dairy processing plants.
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    A review of salty waste stream management in the Australian dairy industry
    Chen, GQ ; Talebi, S ; Gras, SL ; Weeks, M ; Kentish, SE (ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2018-10-15)
    Saline wastewater is a by-product of cheese manufacturing and whey processing that can have serious environmental and economic consequences. Salty streams originating from dairy processing operations include chromatography wastes, clean-in-place wastewater, acid whey, salty whey and waste generated from whey demineralization processes such as nanofiltration, electrodialysis and ion exchange. With the participation of the major dairy companies in Australia, an industry wide survey was conducted to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the management strategies for these salty waste streams. High salinity waste streams are commonly directed to evaporation ponds. However, environmental impacts from land degradation, odour and dust have prevented the construction of further evaporation ponds in some areas of Australia. The survey results also show that disposal to municipal trade waste is not always effective, as the current levels of some salinity-related parameters are significantly higher than the levels allowed by the local water/environmental authorities. For high salinity streams, salt removal can lead to more substantial savings in trade waste charges compared to wastewater volume reduction. Thus, salt removal and recovery from salty waste streams has become a major focus of the sustainability agenda of the Australian dairy industry.
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    Spray assisted layer-by-layer assembled one-bilayer polyelectrolyte reverse osmosis membranes
    Li, Q ; Chen, GQ ; Liu, L ; Kentish, SE (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2018-10-15)
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    Effects of industrial gas impurities on the performance of mixed matrix membranes
    Kanehashi, S ; Aguiar, A ; Lu, HT ; Chen, GQ ; Kentish, SE (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2018-03-01)
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    The Role of Ion Exchange Membranes in Membrane Capacitive Deionisation
    Hassanvand, A ; Wei, K ; Talebi, S ; Chen, GQ ; Kentish, SE (MDPI, 2017-09-01)
    Ion-exchange membranes (IEMs) are unique in combining the electrochemical properties of ion exchange resins and the permeability of a membrane. They are being used widely to treat industrial effluents, and in seawater and brackish water desalination. Membrane Capacitive Deionisation (MCDI) is an emerging, energy efficient technology for brackish water desalination in which these ion-exchange membranes act as selective gates allowing the transport of counter-ions toward carbon electrodes. This article provides a summary of recent developments in the preparation, characterization, and performance of ion exchange membranes in the MCDI field. In some parts of this review, the most relevant literature in the area of electrodialysis (ED) is also discussed to better elucidate the role of the ion exchange membranes. We conclude that more work is required to better define the desalination performance of the proposed novel materials and cell designs for MCDI in treating a wide range of feed waters. The extent of fouling, the development of cleaning strategies, and further techno-economic studies, will add value to this emerging technique.
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    A comparison of multicomponent electrosorption in capacitive deionization and membrane capacitive deionization
    Hassanvand, A ; Chen, GQ ; Webley, PA ; Kentish, SE (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2018-03-15)
    In this study, the desalination performance of Capacitive Deionization (CDI) and Membrane Capacitive Deionization (MCDI) was studied for a wide range of salt compositions. The comprehensive data collection for monovalent and divalent ions used in this work enabled us to understand better the competitive electrosorption of these ions both with and without ion-exchange membranes (IEMs). As expected, MCDI showed an enhanced salt adsorption and charge efficiency in comparison with CDI. However, the different electrosorption behavior of the former reveals that ion transport through the IEMs is a significant rate-controlling step in the desalination process. A sharper desorption peak is observed for divalent ions in MCDI, which can be attributed to a portion of these ions being temporarily stored within the IEMs, thus they are the first to leave the cell upon discharge. In addition to salt concentration, we monitored the pH of the effluent stream in CDI and MCDI and discuss the potential causes of these fluctuations. The dramatic pH change over one adsorption and desorption cycle in CDI (pH range of 3.5-10.5) can be problematic in a feed water containing components prone to scaling. The pH change, however, was much more limited in the case of MCDI for all salts.