What is a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR)? The Membrane Bioreactor process uses additional filtration to produce a higher quality effluent and is a variation of the activated sludge process. Common in medium- to large-scale plants, the MBR features an ultrafine membrane filter installed at the discharge end of a standard aeration basin. Pumps installed on the membrane filters create a slight vacuum and pull the effluent through the membrane. The ultrafine holes in the membrane do not allow the biological microbes to pass through the membrane, keeping the microbes in the aeration basin. The membrane becomes clogged or fouled in this process and requires more frequent cleaning.
Types of Membrane Bioreactors. There are two types of membrane bioreactor configurations: internal/submerged and external/side-stream. In the internal MBR, the membranes are located within the biological reactor; this is the most popular configuration, as it uses a lower amount of energy and has great efficiency. In the external MBR, membranes are external to the biological reactor. These are typically employed in applications that are smaller scale but higher strength.
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