Current Project

Project 1. 

Design and Optimization of an Integrated Full Scale Activated Sludge Tank Using CFD

Researchers from CTET have extensive experiences in implementing COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS (CFD) together with other process simulation tools and advanced experimental characterisation techniques to optimise the designs of various processes. In a recent project, the CTET team used both numerical modelling methods and experimental approaches to optimise and improve the design of a full-scale activated sludge (CAS) tank designed by a local partner in Yixing. The distribution of dissolved oxygen in the CAS tank was improved such that effective simultaneous aerobic and anoxic digestion could be achieved. Simulation results together with an economic analysis report prepared by CTET provided its partner with clear direction with regard to the optimization of equipment and plant design.


Project 2.

CFD-aided process design of conventional underground treatment process of coal mine water

Modern underground coal mining equipment typically uses hydraulic transmission with emulsions containing a high proportion of water (> 95% by volume). As such, the purity of water directly affects the stable operation and service life of these mining equipment. The water used for this purpose is usually sourced from the coal mine water that is treated on site. Subsequently, the treated mine water is pumped underground through pipelines for emulsion preparation, which inevitably brings the risk of water recontamination during transportation. Therefore, further water treatment needs to be performed near the underground mining platform to ensure the purity of the emulsion water. With a wide array of state-of-the-art MEMBRANE AUTOPSY techniques available at CTET, together with our PROCESS DEVELOPMENT experience, CTET has collaborated with industry partners in the development of a modularised underground coal mine water treatment system suitable for harsh underground mining environments.


Project 3.

Coal mine drainage desalting system optimization based on membrane autopsy and CFD modelling

Multi-stage RO treatment technology is widely used in coal mine water desalination to achieve water recoveries of greater than 95%. The composition of the concentrated stream changes significantly throughout the process leading to different contamination challenges for the RO membranes that are typically used. Collaborating with industry partners, CTET combines MEMBRANE AUTOPSY techniques, CFD simulation technology and PROCESS DESIGN to optimise the process design and operation of the multistage RO systems used.


Project 4.

CFD modelling of the hydraulic performance of a lab-scale RO cell

UNSW CTET has been working together with the partner to conduct a pre-test to evaluate the performance of a CFD model developed in CTET in predicting the hydraulic performance of a lab-scale cross-flow RO cell operated in the partner's lab. A 3D CFD model was built using the modelling method developed in UNSW CTET to simulate the RO performance based on the geometry of a lab-scale cross-flow RO cell provided by Suez. A less than 4% error was achieved between the modelling and experimental results, indicating the high accuracy of the model in estimating the distribution of flow and salt concentration in the lab-scale RO cell. The use of a concentrate side spacer was found to significantly minimise concentration polarisation, contributing to higher permeate flow at high feed concentration. This model, in combination with a series of CFD models developed by UNSW CTET, can be used to estimate the distribution of flow and the concentration of multivalent inorganic salts in RO elements ranging from lab-scale to full-scale with various configurations.


Our History

Since 2006, research team led by Dr Yuan Wang and Professor Greg Leslie at UNSW UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science & Technology (UCMST) have developed a wide range of mathematical models covering different aspects of membrane separation processes (see figure below), including microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis.

  1. EU project AMEDEUS (“Accelerate Membrane Development for Urban Sewage Purification, 2006 - 2009)
  2. ARC Linkage Project “Optimisation of nutrient removal, membrane fouling and excess sludge dewatering in hybrid coagulation/submerged membrane bioreactor (SMBR) treatment of wastewaters” (ARC LP 100100056, 2010 – 2014)
  3. CFD models to assess sludge rheology on membrane surface shear
  4. CFD models to optimise membrane module design for submerged hollow fibre MBRs
  5. Membrane fouling in industrial anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) (collaborative research with University of Queensland) Integrated CFD with fouling model for anaerobic MBR for slaughterhouse wastewater treatment
  6. Development of membrane distillation (MD)/membrane crystallization (MC) systems (ARC discovery project, 2013 – 2016)
  7. Design of anaerobic membrane bioreactors using Computational Fluid Dynamics (collaborative research with Abengoa Research Spain) (2015)
  8. Development of mobile groundwater desalination systems (project funded by Tata Trust India) (2016 – 2018)
  9. Development of new generations of membrane module - Project with Beijing Origin Water through UNSW Torch Program (2016 - 2019)