Direct phosphorus harvest from municipal wastewater

Phosphorus is a pollutant but is also an important nonrenewable resource. A hybrid microfiltration-forward osmosis membrane bioreactor system was designed for direct phosphorus recovery from municipal wastewater. A forward osmosis (FO) membrane and a microfiltration (MF) membrane were operated in parallel in a bioreactor for wastewater treatment. FO membrane rejects the nutrients (e.g., PO43−, Ca2+, Mg2+, etc.) and enriches them within the bioreactor; the nutrients are subsequently extracted via the MF membrane. Phosphorus is then recovered from the nutrients-enriched MF permeate via precipitation without addition of an external source of calcium or magnesium. The use of seawater brine as draw solution is another novel aspect of the system. The process achieved 90% removal of total organic carbon and 99% removal of NH4 +-N. On an average, more than 70% phosphate originally present in the municipal wastewater was successfully recovered as high quality calcium /magnesium phosphate products.


Enantioselective adsorption and separation original


Hybrid microfiltration-forward osmosis membrane bioreactor system for simultaneous municipal wastewater treatment, phosphorus and water recovery


This work has been published in Environmental Science & Technology on April 28, 2015 (DOI: 10.1021/es504554f)

Corresponding author(s): Yen-Peng Ting ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
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