Characterization of biofilm growthrate in a membrane system


Project Description

Membrane filtration plays an important role in seawater desalination and wastewater reclamation. Biofouling is an unacceptable loss of performance caused by the growth of bacteria inside the membrane element. The aim of the project is to establish relations between operational conditions, such as water velocity, production rate and nutrient concentration and the growth rate of biofilms. The results will allow better understanding and control of biofouling formation. The two main methods to observe the thickness of the biofilm are via its hydraulic resistance and via optical coherence tomography (OCT). ​
Program - Environmental Science and Engineering
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Water Desalination and Reuse Center
Field of Study - ​chemical engineering, environmental science, etc

About the

Johannes Vrouwenvelder

Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering<br/>Director, Water Desalination and Reuse Center<br/>

Johannes Vrouwenvelder

Professor Vrouwenvelder studies microbiological and process technological aspects of water treatment and transport. This includes fouling control of membrane systems and cooling towers, and sensors and tools for biofouling/biofilm monitoring and rapid sensitive microbial water quality monitoring. Additionally, Professor Vrouwenvelder performs numerical modelling of fouling and water treatment system performance, and studies the dynamics of the microbial ecology of water distribution systems.

Desired Project Deliverables

​Formulate a research question and design the experiments accordingly.Run experiment (preparation of solutions, setting up and run equipment, problem solving, OCT-scan of biofilm)​Data analysisWritten and oral presentation of (intermediate) results.