There has been a recent surge of interest in anaerobic MBRs. The technology provides the potential for removing COD with a net energy benefit from the methane generated, albeit without nutrient removal. Interest within academia is evidenced by the publication of five independent reviews of the subject in various learned journals in 2012 alone.
Features - Feasibility, optimisation and costs
In Japan, there are over 3,000 MBRs which have been in operation since the 1980s for small-scale on-site industrial/household wastewater treatment. However, municipal wastewater applications began only in the mid 00’s, leading to 19 operational full-scale plants by April 2013.
This feature summarises recent research into a new membrane bioreactor technology applied for water reuse (NEWater, Singapore) with reference to energy demand. Reducing aeration demand for membrane air scouring combined with a high flux has been shown to significantly reduce energy demand.
The Arenales del Sol WWTP in Spain combines biological treatment with nutrient removal with a submerged MBR system fitted with flat sheet (FS) ultrafiltration membranes, with an average treatment capacity of 10,000 m3/d (10 MLD). The plant provides high quality treatment to highly variable seasonal sewage inflow due to the nature of this popular coastal region.
The German river association Erftverband has been into MBRs for municipal wastewater treatment for more than a decade, installing the first such system in Germany and commissioning what was the largest membrane bioreactor in the world. The company’s experience in MBR operation provides a valuable insight into the technology.
Aquapolo is the largest wastewater reuse project in the Southern Hemisphere, and the fifth largest of its kind in the world. Upon completion, this facility will free up enough drinking water to continuously supply a population of 350,000 inhabitants, with the potential capacity to reach 600,000.