Client Challenge

A major US consumer goods producer generates wastewater with chemical oxygen demand concentrations (COD) of approximately 15,000 mg/l.  The customer wanted to reuse 90% of the wastewater with a maximum COD value of 2,000 mg/l in the treated product.  These criteria could not be met using traditional polymeric membranes because the elevated concentration of surfactants in the feed water would lead to rapid fouling and require high frequency cleaning cycles.  The pre-treatment system necessary to mitigate fouling of polymeric membranes was capital intensive and expensive to operate for the target flow rate of 100,000 gallons per day.

Cerahelix Solution

A single stage treatment system using its NanoHelix™ ceramic nanofiltration membranes allowed the client to achieve their water reuse objectives and eliminate many of the challenges associated with legacy polymeric membranes.  The system utilizing Cerahelix membranes achieved 91% recovery with minimal downtime, succeeding where other membranes failed. Our NanoHelix membranes removed over 97% of the COD concentration in the wastewater.  In addition, the system allowed the reject stream to be concentrated by a factor of 10 and sold as a secondary product converting a waste stream to a revenue stream.

A unique benefit to ceramic nanofiltration is the smooth surface combined with small (<1 nm) pore size that prevents irreversible fouling. This enhances the efficiency of chemically enhanced cleaning procedures reducing the time and the amount of chemicals required.  The smooth surface also results in higher sustained flux between cleaning cycles allowing the target flow rate to be met.


System Parameters
Cerahelix filterNanoHelix
Wastewater flow100,000 GPD
Influent COD 17660 ppm
ParameterInlet (mg/L)Permeate (mg/L)

NanoHelix Flux vs Hydraulic  RecoveryNanoHelix Flux vs Hydraulic Recovery

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