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Anaerobic MBRs - the gift that keeps on giving


Anaerobic MBRs - the gift that keeps on giving

Our list is presented without preference. It was compiled by Simon Judd in December 2023, and may be updated in future as new papers are published.

In Spring 2020, our first 'Ten research abstracts' selection featured exclusively review articles on the subject of anaerobic MBRs, all published in the previous three years. The number of technical research papers on AnMBRs published over the same period ran to hundreds.

Almost four years on and this research area seems to be more popular than ever: another 34 academic reviews on AnMBRs have been published since the start of 2020. And there have been further reviews featuring AnMBRs as a process technology option in articles based on, amongst other subjects, quorum sensing and quenching, algal technology and nutrient recovery.

Of the 34 reviews ostensibly dedicated to AnMBRs:

  • 22 include membrane fouling or fouling control as either the primary subject or one of the topics discussed with reference to the main subject;
  • 17 include a consideration of biogas production and recovery, with at least 5−6 explicitly focusing on this subject (Abuabdou et al., 2020; Baral et al., 2020; Elmoutez et al., 2023; Hu et al., 2020 and 2022; Tomczak et al., 2023);
  • Four concern water reuse (Aslam et al., 2022; Hu et al., 2022; Huang et al., 2023; Wu and Kim, 2020), and another six encompass recovery of resources generally (AlSayed et al., 2020; Mahmood et al., 2022; Robles et al., 2021; Tomczak et al., 2022, 2023; Zhang et al., 2021);
  • A number are dedicated to specific biorefractory industrial effluents (An et al., 2023), such as dyewaste (Mojiri et al, 2023), pharmaceuticals (Oberoi et al., 2022), livestock effluent (Zhang et al., 2021a), and landfill leachate (Abuabdou et al., 2020; Issa et al., 2022);
  • A couple concern the fate of micropollutants (Ji et al., 2020; Zhang et al., 2021b).

It’s worth reiterating that anaerobic MBRs have been implemented at full scale for industrial effluents for more than three decades. However, they remain a niche technology despite the commercialisation of both immersed and sidestream configurations – and despite the obvious plethora of research.

The 34 review articles are listed below in alphabetical order.

And, who knows? Maybe we’ll be back here in another four years’ time – older, and perhaps just a little wiser.

Review articles published since 2020

Abuabdou, S. M. A., Ahmad, W., Aun, N. C., and Bashir, M. J. K. (2020). A review of anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBR) for the treatment of highly contaminated landfill leachate and biogas production: Effectiveness, limitations and future perspectives. Journal of Cleaner Production, 255, 120215.

AlSayed, A., Soliman, M., and Eldyasti, A. (2020). Anaerobic-based water resources recovery facilities: A review. Energies, 13(14), 3662.

An, Z., Zhu, J., Zhang, M., Zhou, Y., Su, X., Lin, H., and Sun, F. (2023). Anaerobic membrane bioreactor for the treatment of high-strength waste/wastewater: A critical review and update. Chemical Engineering Journal, 470, 144322.

Anjum, F., Khan, I. M., Kim, J., Aslam, M., Blandin, G., Heran, M., and Lesage, G. (2021). Trends and progress in AnMBR for domestic wastewater treatment and their impacts on process efficiency and membrane fouling. Environmental Technology and Innovation, 21, 101204.

Aslam, A., Khan, S. J., and Shahzad, H. M. A. (2022). Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) for municipal wastewater treatment- potential benefits, constraints, and future perspectives: An updated review. Science of the Total Environment, 802, 149612.

Baral, S. S., Dionisi, D., Maarisetty, D., Gandhi, A., Kothari, A., Gupta, G., and Jain, P. (2020). Biofuel production potential from wastewater in India by integrating anaerobic membrane reactor with algal photobioreactor. Biomass and Bioenergy, 133, 105445.

Nicodemos Ramos, M. D., Santos Rangel, A., Siqueira Azevedo, K., Batista Melo, M. G., Oliveira, M. C., Watanabe, C. M. U., Ferreira Pereira, F., Mudadu Silva, C., and Aguiar, A. (2022.). Characteristics and treatment of Brazilian pulp and paper mill effluents: a review. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 194, 651.

De Vela, R. J. (2021). A review of the factors affecting the performance of anaerobic membrane bioreactor and strategies to control membrane fouling. Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, 20(3), 607–644.

Elmoutez, S., Abushaban, A., Necibi, M. C., Sillanpää, M., Liu, J., Dhiba, D., Chehbouni, A., and Taky, M. (2023). Design and operational aspects of anaerobic membrane bioreactor for efficient wastewater treatment and biogas production. Environmental Challenges, 10, 100671.

Hu, Y., Cai, X., Du, R., Yang, Y., Rong, C., Qin, Y., and Li, Y. Y. (2022). A review on anaerobic membrane bioreactors for enhanced valorization of urban organic wastes: Achievements, limitations, energy balance and future perspectives. Science of the Total Environment, 820, 153284.

Hu, Y., Cai, X., Xue, Y., Du, R., Ji, J., Chen, R., Sano, D., and Li, Y. Y. (2022). Recent developments of anaerobic membrane bioreactors for municipal wastewater treatment and bioenergy recovery: Focusing on novel configurations and energy balance analysis. Journal of Cleaner Production, 356, 131856.

Hu, Y., Cheng, H., Ji, J., and Li, Y. Y. (2020). A review of anaerobic membrane bioreactors for municipal wastewater treatment with a focus on multicomponent biogas and membrane fouling control. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 6(10), 2641–2663.

Huang, Y., Jeffrey, P., and Pidou, M. (2023). Municipal wastewater treatment with anaerobic membrane Bioreactors for non-potable reuse: A review. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 1–23.

Issa, L., El Kik, O., and El-Fadel, M. (2022). AnMBR technology for landfill leachate treatment: a framework towards improved performance. Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, 21(2), 517–538.

Ji, J., Kakade, A., Yu, Z., Khan, A., Liu, P., and Li, X. (2020). Anaerobic membrane bioreactors for treatment of emerging contaminants: A review. Journal of Environmental Management, 270, 110913.

Kanafin, Y. N., Kanafina, D., Malamis, S., Katsou, E., Inglezakis, V. J., Poulopoulos, S. G., and Arkhangelsky, E. (2021). Anaerobic membrane bioreactors for municipal wastewater treatment: A literature review. Membranes, 11(12), 967.

Li, J., Jiang, J., Li, J., He, C., Luo, Y., and Wei, L. (2023). Anaerobic membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment: mechanisms, fouling control, novel configurations, and future perspectives. Environmental Engineering Research, 28(1), 575.

Mahmood, Z., Cheng, H., and Tian, M. (2022). A critical review on advanced anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) for wastewater treatment: advanced membrane materials and energy demand. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 8(10), 2126–2144.

Mojiri, A., Zhou, J. L., KarimiDermani, B., Razmi, E., and Kasmuri, N. (2023). Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) for the Removal of Dyes from Water and Wastewater: Progress, Challenges, and Future Perspectives. Processes, 11(3), 855.

Nabi, M., Liang, H., Zhou, Q., Cao, J., and Gao, D. (2023). In-situ membrane fouling control and performance improvement by adding materials in anaerobic membrane bioreactor: A review. Science of the Total Environment, 865, 161262.

Oberoi, A. S., Surendra, K. C., Wu, D., Lu, H., Wong, J. W. C., and Kumar Khanal, S. (2022). Anaerobic membrane bioreactors for pharmaceutical-laden wastewater treatment: A critical review. Bioresource Technology, 361, 127667.

Osman, R. M., and Hodaifa, G. (2023). An overview of anaerobic membrane bioreactors: current developments, fouling problems, and future prospects. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 11(6), 111482.

Robles, Á., Serralta, J., Martí, N., Ferrer, J., and Seco, A. (2021). Anaerobic membrane bioreactors for resource recovery from municipal wastewater: A comprehensive review of recent advances. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 7(11), 1944–1965.

Samaei, S. H. A., Chen, J., Li, G., Whitman, A., and Xue, J. (2023). Anaerobic dynamic membrane bioreactors (AnDMBRs): A promising technology for high-strength wastewater treatment. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 11(5), 111139.

Shahid, M. K., Kashif, A., Rout, P. R., Aslam, M., Fuwad, A., Choi, Y., Banu J, R., Park, J. H., and Kumar, G. (2020). A brief review of anaerobic membrane bioreactors emphasizing recent advancements, fouling issues and future perspectives. Journal of Environmental Management, 270, 110909.

Siddiqui, M. A., Biswal, B. K., Saleem, M., Guan, D., Iqbal, A., Wu, D., Khanal, S. K., and Chen, G. (2021). Anaerobic self-forming dynamic membrane bioreactors (AnSFDMBRs) for wastewater treatment – Recent advances, process optimization and perspectives. Bioresource Technology, 332, 125101.

Sohn, W., Guo, W., Ngo, H. H., Deng, L., Cheng, D., and Zhang, X. (2021). A review on membrane fouling control in anaerobic membrane bioreactors by adding performance enhancers. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 40, 101867.

Tian, S., Zhu, Y., Huang, S., Lian, J., Qin, X., Ren, L., and Li, X. (2021). Research progress in anaerobic biological treatment of low-strength sewage. Huagong Jinzhan/Chemical Industry and Engineering Progress, 40(4), 2338–2346.

Tomczak, W., and Gryta, M. (2022). Energy-Efficient AnMBRs Technology for Treatment of Wastewaters: A Review. Energies, 15(14), 4981.

Tomczak, W., Gryta, M., Grubecki, I., and Miłek, J. (2023). Biogas Production in AnMBRs via Treatment of Municipal and Domestic Wastewater: Opportunities and Fouling Mitigation Strategies. Applied Sciences (Switzerland), 13(11), 6466.

Wang, T., Jin, Z., Yang, Y., Ma, J., Aghbashlo, M., Zhang, H., Sun, S., Tabatabaei, M., and Pan, J. (2022). In-depth insights into the temporal-based fouling mechanism and its exploration in anaerobic membrane bioreactors: A review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 375, 134110.

Wu, B., and Kim, J. (2020). Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors for Nonpotable Water Reuse and Energy Recovery. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 146(2).

Zhang, N., Liu, W., Peng, Y., and Song, X. (2021). Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactors for Livestock Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery: Opportunities and Challenges. Current Pollution Reports, 7(3), 277–285.

Zhang, S., Lei, Z., Dzakpasu, M., Li, Q., Li, Y. Y., and Chen, R. (2021). Removal of trace organic contaminants in municipal wastewater by anaerobic membrane bioreactor: Efficiencies, fates and impact factors. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 40, 101953.

Zhang, S., Tchalala, M. R., Cheng, H., Medina, J. S., Xiong, Y., and Hong, P. Y. (2023). Anaerobic membrane bioreactor as the core technology for future decentralized wastewater treatment plants. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 42, 100975.

Simon Judd
Simon Judd

Simon Judd has over 35 years’ post-doctorate experience in all aspects of water and wastewater treatment technology, both in academic and industrial R&D. He has (co-)authored six book titles and over 200 peer-reviewed publications in water and wastewater treatment.

About this page

'Anaerobic MBRs II − 34 more review papers' was written by Simon Judd

This page was last updated on 31 December 2023


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