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Dr. Klaus Vossenkaul

CEO, Membion, Germany

Dr. Klaus Vossenkaul is an expert in membrane technology with more than 30 years of experience in the field of porous membranes, especially for wastewater treatment in so called membrane bioreactors (MBR). He has done his PHD in module design for ultrafiltration at the institute for process design (IVT) the University of Aachen (RWTH) working with Prof. R. Rautenbach, a pioneer and scientist in all fields of membrane technology. Klaus Vossenkaul then took over the leadership of the group for membranes in water and wastewater applications at the institute for process design (IVT/RWTH). After having developed the first plate module together with the company ROCHEM (Hamburg) he started his own membrane company PURON in 2001 to develop, produce and market a new hollowfiber module for MBR. Three years later he sold PURON to KOCH Industries and remained 5 years as managing director and head of R&D with the successor company of PURON (Koch Membrane Systems GmbH). Two years later (2012) he started his second own membrane company: MEMBION. This time he had the vision to improve MBR-technology on all different levels to increase the overall economic efficiency.

Dec 6, 2023, 8:55AM-9:10AM, EST

Next-Gen MBR: Energy-Efficient and Space-Saving Wastewater Treatment

Membrane bioreactors (MBR) achieve a significantly improved water quality compared to conventional wastewater treatment plants and therefore offer the opportunity to recycle wastewater for different purposes. However, disadvantages of the current MBR generation are their high energy demand for module aeration (membrane flushing), the required space for installation of the membrane modules as well as an additional pre-treatment needs of the incoming wastewater with fine screening.
The company Membion GmbH from Germany has developed Next-Generation MBR-modules with significant improvements regarding all relevant challenges of current MBR-technology. The new modules offer four innovative design features with the following advantages for the MBR-process:
• An innovative aeration technology reduces the energy requirement for membrane flushing up to more than 90 %. Through the high efficiency of the new flushing method there is no need for an intermittent backwashing of the membranes with permeate any more. Therefore, less membrane area, smaller blowers and reduced and smaller pant equipment lead to significantly lower investment cost for MBR-installations with new technology.
• A “Single-header”-design makes the new modules insensitive against hairs and fibrous compounds in the sludge resulting in lower pre-treatment needs. A fine screening of the incoming wastewater is no longer required.
• The concept of “BundleTube”-design arranges membrane bundles inside of rectangular tubes. The rectangular tubes are arranged within the module so that there are defined zones on their outside for downward-flowing of the sludge. This leads to very compact membrane chambers with an optimized flow pattern of the sludge and the possibility to carry out recovery cleanings within the membrane chamber without the need to take any modules out for chemical cleaning. The membrane chambers can also be designed as containerized systems which can be easily installed via a plug & play system.
• The forth principle is “Built2fit”, which is a modular design that allows different module sizes and flexibility in all dimensions (also as double-decker modules) according to customer requirements. The modules consist of two building blocks: membrane-elements and geyser-elements.
First full-scale references are in operation and demonstrate that the new MBR-technology is a game changer in economic efficiency and therefore offers next-gen MBR for energy-efficient and space-saving wastewater treatment.

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