Membranes (Basel). 2022 Jul 4;12(7):690. doi: 10.3390/membranes12070690.
The use of membrane filtration as a downstream process for microbial biomass harvesting is hampered due to the low permeate flux values achieved during the microfiltration of fermentation broths. Several hydrodynamic methods for increasing permeate flux by creating turbulent flow patterns inside the membrane module are used to overcome this problem. The main goal of this study was to investigate the combined use of a Kenics static mixer and gas sparging during cross-flow microfiltration of Bacillus velezensis IP22 cultivation broth. Optimization of the microfiltration process was performed by using the response surface methodology. It was found that the combined use of a static mixer and gas sparging leads to a considerable increase in the permeate flux, up to the optimum steady-state permeate flux value of 183.42 L·m-2·h-1 and specific energy consumption of 0.844 kW·h·m-3. The optimum steady-state permeate flux is almost four times higher, whilst, at the same time, the specific energy consumption is almost three times lower compared to the optimum results achieved using gas sparging alone. The combination of Kenics static mixer and gas sparging during cross-flow microfiltration is a promising technique for the enhancement of steady-state permeate flux with simultaneously decreasing specific energy consumption.