Skip links

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a membrane bioreactor?

Because of the global expansion of the human population, producing high-quality effluent based on appropriate treatment procedures has become necessary, as has the desire for an ample water supply.

These two essential needs can be addressed by utilizing a membrane bioreactor (MBR), a biological unit for wastewater treatment that is effective at removing organic and inorganic contaminants. This has some great benefits and also some drawbacks.


  1. The hydraulic retention time and sludge age are separated. The MBR membrane technology can capture all microorganisms in the water, separate the hydraulic retention time and the sludge age, make operation control more flexible, and extend the sludge age. This promotes the development and reproduction of slow-proliferating nitrifying bacteria, resulting in increased denitrification efficiency.
  2. The effluent quality is superior to that of conventional biochemical procedures. Membrane technology may trap microorganisms in water and some insoluble macromolecule pollutants, extend the residence duration of pollutants in the reactor and boost the removal rate of refractory pollutants.
  3. MBR sludge load is usually around 0.10.2kgCOD/(kgVSSd), and the volume load can exceed several thousand grams.
  4. Pollutant concentrations can be efficiently reduced. As a biochemical treatment method, the MBR membrane may transform organic waste into carbon dioxide and water and nitrogen pollutants into nitrogen. It may also lower the conductivity of raw water, reducing the burden on the future membrane treatment process, extending the life of the membrane, increasing the water production rate, and lowering the concentration of the concentrated solution.
  5. This procedure produces little residual sludge, lowering the cost of sludge treatment.
  6. Simple automated control, simple operation, and management


  1. Because of the high cost of the membrane, the capital investment in membrane-bioreactor technology is higher than in typical sewage treatment technology.
  2. Membrane fouling is common, causing operational and managerial problems.
  3. Extremely high energy usage. First, the MBR mud-water separation process requires a particular membrane driving pressure to be maintained, and second, the MLSS concentration in the MBR tank is quite high. To maintain an adequate oxygen transfer rate, the aeration intensity must be raised, and the membrane must be expanded. The flow rate must be raised to flush the membrane surface to decrease membrane fouling, causing MBR to consume more energy than traditional biological treatment processes.
  4. several aspects can be considered. The increased membrane flow and membrane longevity will significantly lower MBR operating costs. As a result, to ensure effluent quality, the membrane flow should be as big as feasible, decreasing the use of membranes. Area, lowering both capital building and operational expenses. The critical components of MBR research are controlling membrane fouling and maintaining a high membrane flow. Membrane flows highly depend on membrane materials, operating methods, and hydraulic conditions.


MBR is a biological wastewater treatment unit capable of eliminating both organic and inorganic impurities. It has numerous advantages, but it also has certain limitations that might cause operational and management issues.