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Membrane bioreactor (MBR) is the combination of a membrane process like microfiltration or ultra filtration with a biological wastewater treatment process, the activated sludge process.

It is now widely used for municipal and industrial wastewater treatmentMembrane Bioreactor is an innovative wastewater treatment method. As the name suggests, it combines two technologies, membrane filtration and the biological treatment. 

The benefits of MBR:

  • A reduced footprint, usually( 30-50% smaller than an equivalent conventional active sludge facility with secondary clarifiers and media tertiary filtration).
  • The process also produces exceptional effluent quality capable of meeting the most stringent water quality requirements.
  • A modular schematic that allows for ease of expansion and configuration flexibility, a robust and reliable operation and reduced downstream disinfection requirements.

How does membrane bioreactor work? 

Membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment combines the conventional biological process, i.e., activated sludge, with the membrane filtration technology. You could say that the membrane bioreactor working principle is all about the ingenious combo of membrane technology and biological treatment. 

  • In MBR technology system, the semi-permeable membranes, which are two- dimensional materials, (micro and ultrafiltration) are submerged in aerated biological reactors.
  • This extent of filtration allows the superior quality of sewage to be drawn through the membranes.
  • It also aids in the elimination of sedimentation and filtration processes that are commonly used for wastewater treatment.
  • Since the need for sedimentation is removed, the biological process can be operated more effectively.
  • A fine screening or pre-treatment is done before the waste enters membrane tank. It helps to protect the membrane and extend its life by minimizing the accumulation of solid wastes.

Applications of Membrane Bioreactor

Membrane bioreactors have several applications: 

  • Automobile industries 
  • Oil & gas companies 
  • Fertilizer & solvent extractors 
  • Iron & steel industries 
  • Pharma industry 
  • Petroleum refinery 
  • Dye & chemicals unit
  •  Pulp & paper industry

Advantages of MBR

  • Exhibit high waste removal efficiency. 
  • Better effluent quality. 
  • Ability to remove several contaminants like bacteria, nitrogen, and other suspended solid wastes.
  • Occupy less space which means small footprint. 
  • It produces less volume of sludge.