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Press Release

Sumitomo Electric Develops Simplified POREFLON™ MBR Device for Livestock Wastewater Treatment

Products & Technologies

July 18, 2018
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd
*This press release was originally published in Japanese on May 30, 2018.

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. has developed a simplified POREFLON™ membrane bio reactor (MBR)*1device that can be attached externally to existing wastewater treatment tanks for hog raising, jointly with the Livestock Industry's Environmental Technology Institute, administered by the Livestock Industry's Environmental Improvement Organization. The Company plans to start providing the device to livestock farmers and general users this September.

Conventionally, the activated sludge method has been adopted for treating wastewater containing organic elements such as livestock wastes, but the separation performance is unstable because it depends on wastewater quality and sludge characteristics. This can cause difficulties in maintenance and management and pose problems such as the outflow of sludge mixed with treated water. One solution to this problem is to submerge a filtration membrane module in the activated sludge tank to separate the sludge or other wastes (MBR treatment). However, modification work to install the membrane module and operational difficulties in controlling the highly polluted wastewater have been bottlenecks in this method becoming more widely used.

To overcome this situation, in collaboration with the Livestock Industry's Environmental Technology Institute, we have developed a simplified POREFLON™ MBR device that is easy to operate and maintain. It adopts a casing-type POREFLON™ water treatment membrane*2 module that consists of numerous membranes bundled together in the cylindrical case. This enables existing facilities to be used as they are, thereby shortening the construction period.

Subsidized by the Japan Racing Association's Livestock Promotion Project, the Livestock Industry's Environmental Technology Institute conducted a sewage treatment test on a hog farm. In the test, the simplified POREFLON™ MBR device demonstrated advanced performance in maintaining stable wastewater treatment and equipment operability as well as improved hygiene such as parasite removal, confirming its compatibility for sewage treatment and performance in practical application.

Sumitomo Electric plans to start selling the simplified POREFLON™ MBR device to livestock farmers and general users in September this year. This device can be used not only for livestock wastewater but also for a wide range of wastewaters such as sewage and various factory effluents.

Simplified POREFLON™ MBR device

Simplified POREFLON™ MBR device
Photo: Livestock Industry's Environmental Improvement Organization

Main features of the product

  • Since the device can be attached externally, remodeling of existing facilities is unnecessary, enabling faster installation work.
  • A hollow fiber membrane*3 made of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene resin) with excellent hydrophilicity is adopted, and thus it is hard to stain and stable treatment can be maintained.
  • A PTFE hollow fiber membrane has high strength, low risk of film rupture, and long life.
  • By adopting a special pretreatment mechanism, impurities such as pig hair are less likely to clog and it is easy to clean.
  • Chemical use is low compared with standard MBRs, and its performance can be recovered by high-concentration cleaning.

Example flow using simplified POREFLON™ MBR device

Example flow using simplified POREFLON™ MBR device
(The blue-colored section represents equipment newly installed due to the device introduction.)
Source: Livestock Industry's Environmental Improvement Organization

*1 MBR (Membrane Bio Reactor):
A wastewater treatment system combining biological treatment with activated sludge and physical treatment by membrane separation, which can greatly reduce the installation footprint of the wastewater treatment facility.

*2 POREFLON™ water treatment membrane:
A water treatment membrane made of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene resin). As a hollow fiber membrane made of a single material, it is 8 to 10 times stronger than other material membranes. The POREFLON™ membrane module adopted for the simplified POREFLON™ MBR device is a bundle of thousands of flexible tubular hollow fiber membranes with an outer diameter of 2 mm that is loaded into a cylindrical case. Because of its high flexibility, the membrane can shake easily, and thus is less likely to get dirty due to its material characteristics.

*3 Hollow fiber membrane:
Flexible tubular filtration filter with many fine submicron holes on the surface of a thin hollow fiber.

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