Aerobic Membrane Bioreactors

Wastewater treatment Solutions

Aerobic Membrane Bioreactors (MBR) for wastewater treatment are becoming the process of choice for food and beverage production facilities due to their inherent assurance of high quality effluent in the face of widely varying wastewater flows and loadings. These variations are well known to be the ‘Achillies heel’ of traditional wastewater treatment systems that rely on conventional gravity separation such as clarifiers.

CFR has optimized their Aerobic Membrane Bioreactor design to meet the challenges of managing Food and Beverage wastewater.

The Food and Beverage Industry is notorious for producing some of the most variable wastewater of any industry, and this variability results in wide pH swings, varying flowrate, and periods of low and high strength wastewater being generated. This variability comes from the batch processing nature of the industry, varying technologies used in production, and the frequent cleaning processes that are required, among others. Traditionally, large inefficient clarifiers that rely on gravity separation have been utilized to separate the treated effluent from the biomass. However, advancements in membrane technology have allowed the Membrane Bioreactor process to become the process of choice.

A Membrane Bioreactor is a process that combines conventional activated sludge treatment with Ultrafiltration Membranes (UF). The UF membranes are a solid, impermeable barrier that rejects any suspended or colloidal material (biomass) and only allows treated effluent to pass through. This results in 100% biomass being retained within the system which allows for a smaller footprint, a higher treatment capacity, and superior effluent quality.

A Membrane Bioreactor can deliver a higher quality effluent when compared to clarifiers or other gravity separation methods that have been used in the past. This effluent is generally clean enough to be sent to a surface body of water for direct discharge and/or further processed to enable water reuse applications. By utilizing a Membrane Bioreactor for wastewater treatment, end users can generate a much higher effluent quality, as shown in the table below.

ParmeterMembrane BioreactorConventional Activated Sludge
BOD<5 mg/L<30 mg/L
TSS<1 mg/L<30 mg/L
Turbidity<0.2 NTU<20 NTU
Table 1 – Effluent Quality of Membrane Bioreactor vs Activated Sludge

Membrane Ultrafiltration Skids

Complete Filtration completely engineers, designs, and fabricates our own tubular crossflow Membrane Ultrafiltration Skids. These systems have been engineered and optimized based upon years of operational data from existing installations in Food & Beverage applications.

Our MBR skids utilize external tubular crossflow membranes, as opposed to submerged hollow-fiber membrane systems. The tubular membranes are operated by feeding pre-treated wastewater through the membrane modules at a high velocity. The high velocity scours the filtration surface of the membrane and prevents fouling. The membrane pores are sized so that the biomass is retained on the inside of the membrane and the treated effluent is allowed to pass through the membrane. The permeate is sent for discharge or further treatment while the biomass is sent back to the aerobic reactor.

Aerobic MBR’s that utilize the tubular crossflow membrane have many benefits over submerged style membranes including:

  • Higher Flux Rates
  • Smaller Footprint
  • Easier to Clean
  • Less Chemicals to Clean
  • Superior Fouling Resistance

The membrane systems are skid mounted and located outside of the aeration basin which gives operators easy access for maintenance and cleaning. These skids can be easily integrated into an existing wastewater treatment facility due to their ‘plug and play’ design since additional tankage is not required. The modular design of the skids allows for excellent scalability for meeting future plant expansions.

These MBR skids are an excellent choice for new and existing plants alike. When designing a new wastewater treatment facility, we can keep future expansion in mind by setting aside extra space to add in more modules should the wastewater flow increase significantly. Also, can easily upgrade an existing conventional treatment process into an Aerobic Membrane Bioreactor by decommissioning the existing biomass separation technology, such as a clarifier or DAF, and replace that step with Also, for a wastewater treatment plant that is at or above its treatment capacity, we can add the MBR skids to the process to allow for a higher hydraulic throughput and higher MLSS concentrations within the aeration basins.

Figure 1 – Process Showing an Aerobic Membrane Bioreactor for Wastewater Treatment

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