Membrane Bioreactors (MBR)

The membrane bioreactor (MBR) has emerged as an efficient technology for treating municipal and industrial wastewater. In principle, MBR is a combination of conventional biological treatment processes with membrane filtration to provide an advanced level of organic and suspended solids removal, and in some cases nutrient removal. In an MBR system, the membranes are submerged in a biological reactor, supplied with oxygen to maintain aerobic conditions. The membranes have porosities which can be considered between micro and ultrafiltration. By using MBR technology we can eliminate the requirement of secondary clarifier as well as any downstream filtration.

The advantages of MBR technology are as follows:

  • The small pore size of the membrane means that the treated effluent is of very high clarity and significantly reduced pathogen concentration compared with the conventional process.
  • Since there is no requirement of separate clarification and filtration, the plant footprint is reduced.
  • MBRs can be specially designed for the biological removal of ammonia by nitrification process.
  • MBRs are thus able to process significantly higher sludge concentrations (8 to 10 g/l) and lower reactor volumes, compared to conventional systems, and hence sludge production is also lower.

For the treatment of both domestic and industrial wastewater, the use of MBR has expanded significantly over the years. This technology serves our clients, that need effluent of consistent quality with low BOD and Total suspended solids (TSS) for reuse and discharge, for sites where space is limited, for sites where there is a need to increase the capacity of an existing system, or to reduce operating requirements. The advantages of using MBR tanks include reduced fouling, reduced cleaning cycles, and gravity operation capability.

The MBR also replaces secondary clarification in a conventional wastewater treatment plant. MBR separate biologically treated effluent from the mixed liquor utilizing membranes to perform the separation. Typical MLSS concentrations in MBR systems are 10,000 mg/l to 12,000 mg/l. The MBR filtrate can be directly treated by RO without any need for additional pretreatment. The system is very simple to operate, with a minimum of pumps and controls and low requirements for operator attention.