What is a Membrane bioreactor?
Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) combine membrane processes such as microfiltration and ultrafiltration with a biological wastewater treatment process known as activated sludge. It is now widely employed in the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater.
Treatment design and basic principle of MBRs
Membrane Bioreactors combine traditional biological treatment techniques (such as activated sludge) with membrane filtration to achieve a high level of organic and suspended solids removal. These systems can also deliver a high level of nutrient removal if they are configured properly. Membranes are submerged in an aerated biological reactor in an MBR system. The porosities of the membranes range from 0.035 microns to 0.4 microns (depending on the manufacturer), putting them somewhere between micro and ultrafiltration.
This level of filtration permits high-quality effluent to pass through the membranes, obviating the need for sedimentation and filtration techniques commonly employed in wastewater treatment. The biological process can function at a significantly greater mixed liquor concentration because sedimentation is no longer required. This significantly reduces the amount of process tankage needed, allowing many existing plants to be updated without the addition of additional tanks. The mixed liquid is typically kept in the 1.0-1.2 percent solids range, which is 4 times that of a traditional plant, to enable optimal aeration and scour around the membranes.
What is the Use of Membrane Bioreactors for Municipal WWTP?
MBRs can be used as a subsequent treatment step, similar to activated sludge, with the purpose of degrading the organic content of the stream and separating suspended materials. Traditional techniques require numerous steps to settle solid wastes out of solution, whereas MBR uses a hybrid strategy that combines biological treatment with membrane filtration to achieve solids separation more quickly and completely. As a result, MBRs offer consistent, high-quality effluent streams as well as a small footprint.
Here are some of the benefits of using MBR Technology
1. High-quality effluent: MBRs are extremely effective at removing common wastewater stream elements such as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), bacteria, total suspended solids (TSS), and even nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. One of MBR's most valuable assets is that it produces high-quality effluent streams, which allows wastewater treatment plants to properly discharge to surface waterways, meet severe discharge standards, or even reuse treated wastewater for other purposes. The applicability of MBR technology for water reclamation applications is undoubtedly one of the most important factors driving MBR adoption at wastewater treatment plants across the world—in other words, as water recycling activities have grown in popularity, MBRs have grown in popularity as well.
2. Small footprint:Another advantage of MBR systems is their small size. Because it integrates activated sludge, clarification, and media filtering into one stage, MBRs take up only roughly 25-50 percent of the space that a traditional wastewater treatment train would. The bioreactor and filter media components of MBRs are intended to maximize surface area, which helps them attain this degree of efficiency. As a result, compared to conventional activated sludge systems, MBR systems may maintain a larger biomass population in a smaller area, a design characteristic that saves space while also improving biodegradation efficiency. As a result, MBRs might be a good choice for towns with limited space.
3. Consistent effluent quality:MBRs and traditional activated sludge systems have one thing in common: they're both biological treatment technologies that rely on a live biomass to degrade hazardous organic elements in a stream. For separation, traditional activated sludge systems rely on the development of flocs.
In a nutshell, when the biomass decomposes organic matter, biological solids form, which flocculate into larger clumps, or flocs, which may then be sorted out and disposed of as solid waste. When biomass activity is hampered as a result of changes in the wastewater stream's make-up, floc production may not occur as expected, resulting in lower-quality effluent.MBRs, on the other hand, are not reliant on the development of flocs. MBRs use filtration membranes for separation. As a result, compared to traditional activated sludge systems, MBRs provide benefits such as improved effluent quality stability and resistance to system upset.
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