Membrane Bioreactor for Wastewater Treatment: Current Status, Novel Configurations and Cost Analysis

Muhammad B. Asif, Zhenghua Zhang, Minh T. Vu, Johir A.H. Mohammed, Nirenkumar Pathak, Long D. Nghiem, Luong N. Nguyen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The membrane bioreactor (MBR) process is a ground-breaking innovation in the field of wastewater treatment, which involves a biological activated sludge process coupled with the membrane separation. The main highlights of the MBR are its low footprint, which is due to the elimination of secondary sedimentation process in the conventional activated sludge (CAS). MBR can produce high and consistent effluent quality, which can be a non-potable water source or be readily treated in downstream processes for potable water reuse. With the decrease in the cost of membrane modules over the years, full-scale deployment of MBR plants continues to increase worldwide with scale up to 800 MGD to date. Nevertheless, membrane fouling and energy consumption in MBRs are two technical challenges. MBR membranes are prone to fouling by organic matter originating from the microbial cells. Energy consumption in MBRs is higher than the CAS due to the aeration requirements, particularly for membrane scouring. Several mitigations strategies to address these challenges have been developed, which showed promising results by reducing the operating cost of the MBR plants. These strategies include the development of new membrane materials with chemical and biological resistant properties, novel configurations for enhanced process performance as well as fouling mitigation and control. This chapter aims to present a succinct overview of the status of MBR technology for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment to cover the recent development of energy reduction and fouling mitigation. It is envisioned that MBR will continue as a domain technology in wastewater treatment sector.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Environmental Chemistry
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages21
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-23

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry


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