Membrane Biofilm Reactor
Membrane Biofilm Reactors (MBR) are wastewater treatment systems which combine the membrane process of microfiltration with biological activated sludge process.
Membrane Biofilm Reactors (MBR) are wastewater treatment systems that combine a semi-permeable membrane with biological treatment processes. The membrane enables microfiltration while a suspended growth bioreactor enables biological decomposition. This type of wastewater treatment is commonly used by municipalities and industrial treatment.
The costs of MBR are dependant on the size of the system.
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Municipalities, local governments, industries that produce contaminated wastewater
MBRs are constructed by the manufacturer. For larger wastewater treatment plants, MBRs are build to bespoke specifications based on site specifications.
Users can obtain MBR directly from local manufacturers.
Due to the open source nature of the product, an exact distribution to date is unknown.
Flow rate of the equipment
Type of wastewater treatment process
How effective is the process at BOD removal?
How effective is the process at COD removal?
How effective is the process at NH4-N removal?
How effective is the process at total suspended solid removal?
How effective is the process at total phosphorus removal?
How effective is the process at fecal coliform removal?
The membranes in MBR are designed to have pores between 0.035 – 0.4 microns, depending on the desired level of filtration. The membrane type (including hollow fiber, spiral-wound, plat-and-frame, pleated filter cartridge, and tubular) is chosen by designers for application-specific designs. This scale of membranes eliminates the need for sedimentation, allowing the biological processes to operate at higher concentrations.
The complexity of the MBR system design requires that operators are technically trained. Training can be provided by the manufacturers.
Replacement components are available directly from manufacturers.
Manufacturers specify performance targets related to eliminating the need for secondary filtration, reducing the plant footprint, prolonging sludge age (and therefore lowering sludge production), producing high quality effluent, and allowing for high loading rates.
Testing by the Lulea University of Technology to determine MBRs are viable for onsite wastewater treatment systems due to MBRs efficient COD (90 %) and Nitrogen (99 %) removal. Additional treatment is required for phosphorus removal to meet water quality regulations.
To reduce health risks, sludge should be dried and incinerated. The ashes can be stored in a landfill to prevent human contact.
Cleaning systems must be used to maintain the membranes in MBR. Often the cleaning is performed using chemical mixtures to defoul the membranes.
Ueda, T., et al., 1997, “Effects of aeration on suction pressure in a submerged membrane bioreactor”, Water Research, 31, pp. 489-494.
Larsson, E. and Persson, J., 2004, “Viability of Membrane Bioreactor Technology as an Advanced Pre-treatment for Onsite Wastewater Treatment“, Masters dissertation, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Clara, M. et. al., 2005, “Removal of selected pharmaceuticals, fragrances and endocrine disrupting compounds in a membrane bioreactor and conventional wastewater treatment plants“, Water Research, 39, pp. 4797-4807.
Judd, S., 2008, “The status of membrane bioreactor technology“, Trends in Biotechnology, 26, pp. 109-116.
Achill, A., et al., 2009, “The forward osmosis membrane bioreactor: A low fouling alternative to MBR process”, Desalination, 239, pp. 10-21.
The use of MBRs can aid wastewater treatment sites comply with country water quality discharge standards.
Each MBR is visually evaluated weekly to determine the extent to which fouling has clogged the membrane; when filtration has decreased, the membrane must be cleaned before operation continues.
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