Energy reduction at a large-scale MBR: the Nordkanal experience

The plant at Kaarst-Nordkanal has been in operation for 15 years. It was refurbished with a new anaerobic digestor (AD) in March 2019 ...

View feature All features

MBRs and sludge membrane thickening: how thick is too thick?

The arguments surrounding the precise target sludge (or mixed liquor suspended solids, MLSS) concentration to use when running an MBR are pretty well developed but what is it that ultimately sets the solids concentration range?

View feature All features

Sponsored content

Explore the MBR directories…

MBR resources

Read Simon Judd's MBR blog. Find out more about MBR people. Plus explore MBR news, jobs and upcoming training and events. Contact us on to add your news, jobs and training and events to our free listings.

The MBR Blog Membrane bios

About MBRs

A membrane bioreactor (MBR) is a wastewater treatment process where a perm-selective membrane is integrated with a biological process – a suspended growth bioreactor.

A membrane bioreactor is essentially a version of the conventional activated sludge (CAS) system. Whereas the CAS process uses a secondary clarifier or settlement tank for solid/liquid separation, an MBR uses a membrane. This provides a number of advantages relating to process control and product water quality.

About MBRs MBR acronym buster

Municipal & industrial treatment

There is no significant difference in the design of the MBR technology for a process treating industrial rather than municipal wastewater. The key differences between the two applications are that, for industrial effluents, there are:

  • higher concentrations of organic matter
  • more temporal variation in the concentrations of pollutants (seasonally and diurnally)
  • very significant variations across different industrial sectors, the most biorefactory effluents being from landfill leachate applications
  • no requirement for the removal of pathogenic micro-organisms, unless the effluent is combined with a sewage stream.

MBR case studies MBR features

MBR costs

A full needs analysis is required before selecting a membrane bioreactor system, first of all to confirm that an MBR will be the most cost effective solution for a particular requirement, taking everything into account. Secondly, to ensure an MBR is the most appropriate choice of technology for the circumstances.

Feature − MBR Opex View all MBR features

Design and Operation

Operation and maintenance (O&M) parameters for an MBR include:

  • membrane side − flux, pressure, permeability, recovery, membrane aeration rate, and physical and chemical cleaning cycle times and protocols, and
  • biological side − hydraulic and solids retention time, and sludge recycle rate(s).

View MBR case studies View all MBR features

Explore more content…

Anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) process control

Ángel Robles et al discuss the challenges of process control in AnMBR technology, focusing on the filtration component and encompassing closed and open loop systems

View feature All features

Get 20% off selected IWA MBR books

20% off the standard price of a range of MBR books from IWA Publishing - including the new third edition of Watermaths

20% off books