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Chapter No. 13. Membrane Bio-reactors


Membrane Bio-reactors (MBR) are a combination of biotreatment with a membrane separation system by micro- or ultra-filtration (MF or UF, respectively). The main advantages offered by the process are: (i) production of a high quality, clarified and largely disinfected permeate product in a single stage, and (ii) operation at higher mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) concentration. The latter reduces the required reactor size (resulting in a smaller footprint) and favors the growth of slow-growing microorganisms (like nitrifying bacteria). In addition, the process offers other advantages such as an absolute and independent control of solids retention time (SRT) and hydraulic retention time (HRT), and a reduced sludge production.

This chapter contains seven videolectures recorded by Prof. Simon Judd from Cranfield University, U.K., which present an overview of the main characteristics, advantages, process configurations as well as commercial and operational aspects of membrane bio-reactor systems.

Time Framework of the course: 1 week

Aims of the Course

  • To present an overview of the main characteristics, advantages, operation and configurations of the membrane bio-reactor systems.
  • To discuss and describe membrane fouling on the basis of the fouling mechanism, permeability recovery and chemical/physical nature of origin.
  • To briefly describe the main design aspects of membrane bio-reactors.
  • To describe different commercial MBR technologies employed for wastewater treatment.
  • To discuss certain MBR case studies related to municipal wastewater treatment.

Learning Objectives

After the successful completion of this chapter, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the principles, fundamentals and applicability of membrane bioreactor systems compared to other wastewater treatment processes.
  • Determine the main design and operating parameters of a membrane bioreactor system to treat a defined wastewater flow stream.
Last modified: Saturday, 2 January 2016, 5:58 AM