Optimization of "Serpa" cheese whey nanofiltration for effluent minimization and by-products recovery

Minhalma, Miguel and Magueijo, Vítor and Queiroz, Denise P. and de Pinho, Maria Norberta (2007) Optimization of "Serpa" cheese whey nanofiltration for effluent minimization and by-products recovery. Journal of Environmental Management, 82 (2). pp. 200-206. ISSN 0301-4797

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Abstract

Second cheese whey (SCW) is a by-product of cheese and curd cheese production that is usually not recovered and therefore substantially contributes to the negative environmental impact of the cheese manufacture plants. Membrane technology, namely nanofiltration (NF), is used in this work for the recovery of SCW organic nutrients, resulting from "Serpa" cheese and curd production. The SCW is processed by NF to recover a rich lactose fraction in the concentrate and a process water with a high salt content in the permeate. The permeation experiments were carried out in a plate & frame NF unit, where two NF membranes (NFT50 and HR-95-PP) were characterized and tested. The NF permeation experiments were performed accordingly with two different operation modes: total recirculation and concentration. In order to select the best membrane and operating pressure for the SCW fractionation, total recirculation experiments were carried out. The NF modeling was also performed, in terms of permeate fluxes and rejection coefficients using the resistances-in-series model and the solution-diffusion model, respectively. After the membrane selection, the concentration experiments showed that the selected membrane (NFT50) at 3.0 MPa allows a water recovery of approximately 80%, concentrating the SCW nutrients approximately 5 times. Therefore, the NF operation can successfully reduce the wastewater organic load and simultaneously contributes to the valorization of the cheese and curd cheese manufacture by-products.