BKT launched 20 years ago as a technology solutions provider for municipal and industrial wastewater applications. BKT has re-branded its wastewater treatment business to Tomorrow Water, with a technology portfolio focused on biological treatment.
The BKT brand remains, with a core focus on membrane filtration solutions with FMX - an anti-fouling membrane filtration system was developed and adopted more than 13 years ago for Samsung Fine Chemicals. Since purchasing the first FMX unit, Samsung has continued to add additional FMX units whenever they expand their product line - now with eight FMX units in full-time operation.
FMX is the go-to solution for solid-liquid separation and concentration in manufacturing production processes for commercial industries. FMX successfully treats the most challenging high solid, high density and high viscosity products, consistently delivering optimal resource recovery and cost savings for our clients.
Our Stories: Failure to Success
Many companies want to hide their failures. At BKT, we have learned through years of experience that failure can be the catalyst for growth and improvement, and we have grown to befriend failure as a teacher for lessons we otherwise could not have learned.
Groundbreaking technologies are most often born out of painful processes and experiences. The successes from our past failures have taught us to anticipate problems in projects, to stay nimble and adaptive to change, and to refine our strategies with the awareness that most innovation is a result of growth through failure.
For these reasons, we want to share some of our failure to success stories with you.
Biogas Plant MTI, The Netherlands
High viscosity digestate treatment
BKT’s experience in treating digestate with FMX membrane filtration began in early 2009 with Mosch Thermische Installaties (MTI), aspecialized biogas plant in the Netherlands.
MTI had operated its biogas plant using tubular membranes and tested ceramic membranes as an alternative for their high solid digestate with 10% total solids (TS). Neither membrane technologies were viable options due to extensive fouling, resulting in costly hauling expenses and membrane cleaning costs. In an effort to reduce operation and maintenance costs, MTI sought for a solution through BKT’s anti-fouling membrane filtration system, FMX.
BKT installed three FMX S Class units to treat the high viscosity and high solids digestate (with glycerin, 3-4.5% TS). Along the journey, there were a few bumps in the road. Due to an incorrect control strategy employed in operation, the membranes were damaged as shown below.
After the control issue was resolved, BKT devoted a task force to conduct six months of R&D to design more robust membranes to handle the high shear forces, streamlining and stabilizing FMX operations for the remaining 18 months.
Methylcellulose , Samsung Fine Chemical
Methylcellulose wastewater treatment
In 2002, Samsung Fine Chemicals tried to apply membrane filtration technology for its wastewater treatment plant and encountered major obstacles. Various membrane filtration systems were installed, but none were able to successfully treat the methylcellulose wastewater due to fouling, a reduction in throughput, constant membrane replacements and deterioration of mechanical reliability under the harsh operating conditions. Frustrated by the results with the significant amount of time and money spent, Samsung Fine Chemicals contacted BKT to see if it was possible to find a reliable membrane filtration technology. We accepted the challenge to create a breakthrough technology and the first FMX unit was installed in 2005. The vast improvement in performance are shown in the graphs below as provided by Samsung Fine Chemicals. The bottom graph is FMX performance data with four times the flux and very stable operation compared to the previously installed membrane system (the top graph).
FMX technology was able to generate increased revenue with the sale of by-products, while lowering wastewater treatment expenses. With an increased confidence in FMX technology by Samsung Fine Chemicals known to have the most stringent technical specifications, resulted in the purchase of 8 FMX systems. FMX systems continue to perform with consistent throughput and reliability, even though they are operated under extremely challenging conditions. In fact the membranes from the first FMX system installation lasted 5 years, much longer than anticipated.