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Discoloration of effluents by membrane technologies.



Discoloration of effluents by membrane technologies



Vinasse treatment was performed using membrane separation technologies. The combined use of ultrafiltration and nanofiltration allowed to reach levels of above 99% discoloration. Waste streams from these processes with high content of colored compounds were subjected to an adsorption - ultrafiltration hybrid process reaching 90% of discoloration.

Innovative aspects

Use of membrane separation processes for decolorization of vinasse by clean technologies and treatment of the final residue by an adsorption-ultrafiltration hybrid process. Yields above 95%.


The stillage is the waste generated by industries based on the fermentation of molasses, the main byproduct of sugar production. The vinasse have large number of substances that give brown colored and high organic load of effluent. Colored compounds abundant in the stillage are known as melanoidins, which are high molecular weight polymers formed by the Maillard reaction. After biological treatment, the majority of the organic load is removed, however, the brown color does not disappear and may even increase due to re-polymerization of the colored compounds. The conventional anaerobic-aerobic treatment of vinasse usually reached only 6% or 7% degradation of melanoidins. The removal of melanoidins by chemical treatment requires high doses of chemicals added that generate environmental and economic problem.

Clean technologies as membrane separation processes are used to remove color from industrial effluents and avoid these environmental problems in rivers, such as the reduction of photosynthetic activity and dissolved oxygen concentration


Simplicity of installation and operation of the plant. Continuous process with low operating costs. Increased yields discoloration. Getting colorless effluent that allow the direct discharge.

Main Applications

It is aimed at companies in the sugar sector, distilleries and wastewater treatment plants for the treatment of effluents with high content of melanoidins

Research Group

INDUSTRIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL BIOTECHNOLOGYEste enlace se abrirá en una ventana emergente


Jose Manuel López López

jmllopez@ubu.esEste enlace se abrirá en una ventana emergente

+34 947 25 8895



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Universidad de Burgos
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