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1. (WO2019028559) SUBMERGED MEMBRANE UNIT DIFFUSER CASE
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CLAIMS:

We claim:

1. A diffuser case for a submerged membrane unit having one or more walls extending between an upper opening and a lower opening, wherein the lower opening extends horizontally beyond the plan view area of the upper opening in at least one direction.

2. The diffuser case of claim 1 comprising a slanted wall over at least part of the extension of the lower opening in the at least on direction.

3. The diffuser case of claim 1 or 2 comprising a diffuser located at least in part in the extension of the lower opening in the at least one direction.

4. The diffuser case of any of claims 1 to 3 comprising one or more diffusers located partially or entirely outside of the plan view area of the upper opening.

5. A submerged membrane unit comprising a plurality of membrane cartridges and one or more drop diffusers located at least in part outside of the plan view area of the membrane cartridges.

6. The submerged membrane unit of claim 5 wherein the one or more drop diffusers are mounted to one or more drop pipes extending downwards beside or between the membrane cartridges, wherein there is one drop pipe for each drop diffuser.

7. The submerged membrane unit of claim 6 wherein each of the one or more drop pipes comprises or is in communication with an orifice or port above the submerged membrane unit, wherein there is one orifice or port for each drop pipe.

8. The submerged membrane unit of any of claims 5 to 7 comprising a diffuser case having one or more walls extending between an upper opening and a lower opening, wherein the lower opening extends horizontally beyond the plan view area of the upper opening in at least one direction.

9. The submerged membrane unit of claim 8 wherein the one or more drop diffusers are located within the diffuser case in plan view.

10. The submerged membrane unit of any of claims 5 to 9 comprising ceramic flat plate membranes.

11. The submerged membrane unit of any of claims 5 to 9 comprising polymeric hollow fiber or flat sheet membranes.

12. A process for thickening or digesting sludge comprising immersing a submerged membrane unit of any of claims 5 to 11 in a tank containing mixed liquor or sludge and providing air to the diffuser.

13. The process of claim 12 wherein the mixed liquor or sludge has 18,000 mg/L suspended solids or more.

14. The process of claim 12 comprising thickening sludge, for example waste activated sludge, to a suspended solids concentration of at least 25,000 mg/L.

15. A process of thickening and/or digesting sludge and/or mixed liquor comprising providing air a) through one or more drop diffuers or b) at a flow rate of 140 m3/h per m2 of membrane element or membrane case plan view area or more, 210 m3/h per m2 of membrane element or membrane case plan view area or more, 280 m3/h per m2 of membrane element or membrane case plan view area or more, 10 scfm or more per drop diffuser, 15 scfm or more per drop diffuser or 20 scfm or more per point form diffuser, at an SADm of 1.5 m3/m2/hr or more to a submerged membrane unit.

16. The process of claim 15 wherein the submerged membrane unit has flat sheet membranes, for example ceramic flat sheet membranes.

17. The process of claim 15 or 16 comprising operating the submerged membrane unit at a flux of at least 15 GFD.

18. The process of any of claims 15 to 17 wherein the mixed liquor or sludge has 18,000 mg/L suspended solids or more

19. The process of any of claims 15 to 18comprising thickening sludge to at least 25,000 mg/L suspended solids.

20 The process of any of claims 15 to 19 comprising providing air through one or more drop diffusers.