Aquatech adds enhanced membrane bioreactor to portfolio of wastewater treatment solutions
Aquatech, a global leader in water and wastewater technologies for the industrial and infrastructure markets, has developed Aqua-EMBR enhanced membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment.
The Aqua-EMBR system consists of an activated sludge extended aeration biological treatment process and an Ultrafiltration membrane system for the separation of activated sludge from treated effluent. Aqua-EMBR is an external MBR system; the UF membrane is positioned outside the bioreactor tank, rather than submerged in the bioreactor tank or in the downstream membrane tank.
The UF membrane modules are arranged vertically and aerated continuously at the bottom. Mixed liquor is transported via 'air lift pump' action through the module, while the membrane feed/recirculation pump is only used to overcome the hydraulic losses and maintain a relatively constant flow of mixed liquor through the membrane. This innovative design reduces much of the feed pumping energy requirement needed to maintain high crossflow velocity.
Permeate flow, which is inside-out from the membrane modules, is collected by a permeate pump.
Because no membrane components are submerged in the biological mixed liquor, the biological and membrane systems can be operated and optimised independently. The membrane operation is automatically controlled.
Applications for Aqua-EMBR include wastewater treatment or reclamation in new industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) or in existing plants undergoing upgrades.
The company claims that Aqua-EMBR offers several benefits over submerged MBR systems, which already present advantages over conventional activated sludge systems. Because the Aqua-EMBR system has no membrane tank, it can be built more quickly. Installed as one or more skids on a flat concrete slab, the system eliminates the need for complex civil engineering and lowers the risk for contractors due to construction delays caused by weather conditions, environmental or other local uncertainties.
In addition, the Aqua-EMBR system offers an operator-friendly working environment. Operators do not see, smell or come in contact with the biosludge, nor do they work on top of open membrane tanks where the air could contain harmful aerosols. Should maintenance be required, Aqua-EMBR’s membrane modules can be removed or replaced without any contact with the biosludge.
Another significant benefit, according to Aquatech, is the Aqua-EMBR’s higher operating flux – approximately 50% higher than submerged systems. Because 50% less surface area of membrane is needed per unit volume of permeate production, the low membrane cost per unit volume filtrate means savings in capital (CAPEX) and operating costs (OPEX). Maintenance costs, such as labour and chemicals, are also reduced.
One of the first applications for Aqua-EMBR was treatment of effluent generated from a chemical manufacturing plant where Aquatech successfully commissioned a 50 m3/day capacity plant. After proper sludge acclimatisation, it was possible to reduce chemical oxygen demand (COD) by 85% and consistently achieve a reduction of more than 95% of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).