Characterization of Irreversible Fouling after Ultrafiltration of Thermomechanical Pulp Mill Process Water

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Large volumes of wastewater with dissolved wood components are treated in wastewater treatment plants at thermomechanical pulp mills. It has been shown previously that hemicelluloses in these wastewater streams can be recovered by membrane filtration. A serious obstacle when treating lignocellulose process streams is fouling of the membranes. Fouling not only increases operating costs but also reduces the operating time of the membrane plant. When optimizing the membrane cleaning method, it is important to know which compounds cause the fouling. In this work fouling of an ultrafiltration membrane was studied. The fouling propensity of untreated process water and microfiltrated process water was compared. Fouled membranes were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectrometry. Acid hydrolysis of membranes exposed to untreated process water and microfiltration permeate revealed that 508 mg/m2 and 37 mg/m2 of polysaccharides, respectively, remained on the membranes even after alkaline cleaning.


External organisations
  • Technical University of Denmark
  • University of Maribor
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Engineering and Technology


  • Fouling, Cleaning, Ultrafiltration, Membrane Autopsy, Hemicelluloses
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-285
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Wood Chemistry and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018 May 29
Publication categoryResearch