MBR membranes are prone to fouling generally, and biofouling in particular, by organic matter originating from the microbial cells. These biofoulants vary in concentration with the activated sludge characteristics, such as the mixed liquor suspended solids (MLSS) concentration and solids retention time (SRT) (and so the food/microorganism (F/M) ratio), as well as the feedwater chemistry.
Features - Membrane operation
MBRs use more energy compared with classical activated sludge (CAS) because the aeration requirements are greater. Aeration is needed both for the biological and membrane tanks for degrading the organics and scouring the membrane respectively. Typically, aeration energy consumption accounts for 70–80% of total energy used for the municipal wastewater treatment process, with 40–60% consumed by the process biology.
China features many of the largest municipal wastewater MBRs in the world. Apart from their capacity, some also are ambitious in their construction. The below-ground installation at Kunming City, commissioned in 2012, is one such example. At an ADF (average daily flow) capacity of 150,000 m3/d and a peak daily flow of 195,000 m3/d, it is a substantial plant.
Operational costs in MBRs are marginally higher than those of conventional activated sludge (CAS). Firstly, permeating water through a membrane demands energy. In the case of the immersed technologies (iMBRs) this means that the overall specific aeration demand (SAD) is higher, since air is needed both for maintaining the process biology in the aeration tank and scouring the immersed membrane.
Key facets to take into account when selecting a screen for your MBR design include the screenings capture ratio, screen apertures, screening flow velocity, ancillary processes and coarse suspended solids, and screen maintenance. The screenings capture ratio (SCR) represents the amount of solids removed by the screen as a proportion of the total coarse solids load, and as such is analogous to membrane rejection.
The importance of screening upstream of a membrane bioreactor remains a key concern for MBR practitioners. Screening protects the membrane from mechanical damage from sharp or abrasive particles and from clogging from hair and matted cotton fibre. While any screen is better than no screen at all, it is critically important to have a properly designed and sized screening system.