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Environmental Science and Technology Letters
Vol. 1, No.
2, 2014; Page: 179 - 184

Electroconductive Feed Spacer as a Tool for Biofouling Control in a Membrane System for Water Treatment

Youngbin Baek , Hongsik Yoon , Soojin Shim , Jusol Choi , and Jeyong Yoon

World Class University (WCU) Program of Chemical Convergence for Energy & Environment (C2E2), School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, College of Engineering, Institute of Chemical Process, Seoul National University (SNU), Daehak-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 151-744, Republic of Korea.


This study investigated the application of electrical potentials to an electroconductive feed spacer (ECFS) as a tool for controlling biofouling in a lab-scale cross-flow membrane system. When the ECFS was electrically polarized for 30 min after a 24 h biofouling occurrence, 33–44% of the permeate flux was recovered without any damage to the membrane. This recovery can be explained by the effective detachment of the attached bacteria or biofilms on the membrane surface as well as the ECFC. Overall, the results of this study suggest that an ECFS with a proper electrical potential is an effective method for biofouling control in membrane systems for water treatment.


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