Membrane Bioreactor

Membrane Bioreactor (MBR)

What is a membrane bioreactor?

A MEMBRANE BIOREACTOR (MBR) is a process which combines a microfiltration or ultrafiltration membrane unit with a suspended growth bioreactor, and is now widely used in both municipal and industrial WasteWater Treatment Plants (WWTP).

1)  Bioreactor:

In a wastewater treatment process, a bioreactor is specifically-designed chamber to support a biologically active environment, namely where bacteria and protozoa (the so-called biomass) can grow and consume some (or all) the substances within the raw wastewater.

They can be aerobic (to remove organic matter and oxidize ammonia to nitrate), anoxic (to remove nitrogen from nitrates to nitrogen gas) or anaerobic (to remove organic matter), depending on the presence of oxygen and nitrates or their absence. Typically, membranes are installed after aerobic or anaerobic bioreactors (respectively, the MBR and the An MBR processes).

There are three types of bioreactors:

  • Suspended growth bioreactors, where the biomass grows into flocs;
  • Attached growth (or biofilm) bioreactors, where the biomass grows attached to carriers;
  • Hybrid bioreactors, which combines suspended and attached growth.

Typically, suspended growth bioreactors are these ones used for MBR processes. If properly designed, hybrid bioreactors can be used as well.

2)  Membranes:

In the MBR process, membranes act as a solid-liquid separation device, keeping the biomass within the bioreactor before discharging the treated effluent to the nature. Basically, they take the place of clarifiers used in the conventional activated sludge (CAS) process.

Both micro- (MF) and ultrafiltration (UF) membranes can be used in MBR applications. Typically, UF membranes are the preferred choice because of their superior separation characteristics (thus, being able to remove some colloids and viruses as well) and lower fouling tendency (because of the smaller pore size, they have a lower risk of pore clogging).

There are three types of membrane geometries used for MBRs:

  1. Hollow fibre (HF);
  2. Flat sheet (FS);
  3. Tubular (or multi-tubular, MT).

Other configurations, such as spiral-wound (SW), are not suitable to MBR applications because of their sensitivity to suspended solids contents.

Applications of membrane bioreactors (MBR)

Currently, MBR technology is widely used for the treatment of various types of wastewater streams, such as municipal wastewater treatment, industrial wastewater treatment and landfill leachate.

1)  Municipal wastewater treatment

MBR systems were originally developed for municipal wastewater treatment applications, with a focus on water reuse and recycling. The MBR is an ideal process for recycling municipal wastewater in water and space limited locations because of its compact size, its ability to produce reusable water, and trouble-free operation.

2) Industrial wastewater treatment

Industrial waste streams may include high organic loadings and chemical substances that are particularly difficult to handle or degrade, making alternative treatment like MBR more desirable.

In fact, MBRs completely retain the biomass and this enables a higher biodiversity of the bacteria and protozoa population, favoring the biodegradation of recalcitrant substances (such as herbicides, pesticides, etc.).

3) Landfill leachate treatment

In addition to municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, MBRs have been utilised in a number of other areas. The treatment of landfill leachates is an example. Landfill leachates usually contain high concentrations of organic and inorganic compounds. MBR systems have been successfully used with additional treatment steps for inorganics and heavy metal removal, such as nanofiltration and reverse osmosis processes.

  • Plug and play packaged system
  • Automatic fine influent screen
  • Flat sheet & Hollow fibre MBR module
  • Up to 0.01μm Ultrafiltration membrane
  • Automatic cyclic membrane backwash and CIP System
  • Proven design
  • Fully Factory Tested
  • Systems available from 10 – 300kl/day in single container
  • Standard Steel Modular construction
  • Compact and easy to transport
  • Minimum filed assembly
  • Optional UV disinfection
  • Optional effluent monitoring system with remote telemetry
  • Plan capacity is Expandable with addition of MBR Modules.
  • Effluent Quality BOD < 5 TSS < 1 Turbidity < 1
  • Clean in Place
  • High Resistance to Hydraulics and shock load.
  • Leading Edge modular sewage treatment plant
  • Incorporate advance membrane technology.
  • Ideal for sites where water reuse is premium.
  • High removal efficiency for nitrogen, BOD & COD,
  • Fewer process to achieve comparable effluent quality.
  • Eliminate Sludge ability Issues.
  • Reduce sludge yield
  • High Quality Effluent
  • Small Foot Prints.
  • Waste water
  • Restaurant and kitchen waste water
  • Capacity increase
  • Plant modification and expansion
  • Toilet Flush, Landscape, Car Wash, Construction, Gardening etc. (Below and Above Ground)
  • Apartment Buildings
  • IT Parks
  • All Commercial Establishments such as
  • Hospital
  • Hotels
  • Educational Institutions, etc
  • Decentralized STP in remote and hilly terrains.
  • Industrial Effluent Treatment for Recovery and Recycle


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