Assessment of an Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR) Treating Medium-Strength Synthetic Wastewater under Cyclical Membrane Operation.

Uman A. E. , Bair R. A. , Yeh D. H.

Membranes, vol.11, no.6, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/membranes11060415
  • Title of Journal : Membranes


A lab-scale (6.2 L) anaerobic membrane bioreactor combined with a tubular, cross-flow, PVDF ultrafiltration membrane was developed and operated to assess the long-term fouling behavior of a cyclically operated anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR). The AnMBR was operated at 35 ± 1 °C for 200 days with a synthetic influent of 501 mg·L−1 COD to mimic municipal wastewater. The system exhibited high treatment performance with an average COD removal efficiency of 86.5 ± 6.4% (n = 20) and an average permeate COD concentration of 63.9 ± 31.1 mg·L−1. A clear permeate with an average turbidity of 0.6 ± 0.2 NTU, was achieved. Permeate TN and TP concentrations were 22.7 ± 5.1 mg·L−1 and 6.9 ± 2.0 mg·L−1 corresponding to removal efficiencies of 20.6% and 49.3%, respectively, likely due to membrane rejection of particulate, colloidal, and organic fractions. A stable membrane flux of 4.3 L.m−2.h−1 (LMH) was maintained for 183 days without gas-lift, gas sparge, or chemical cleaning. Cyclical operation with frequent relaxation (60 s for every 30 min of the permeate production run) and periodic permeate backwash (15 s for every 186 min) maintained stable membrane operation with an average TMP of 0.25 bar and a fouling rate of 0.007 kPa/h for the entire operating period. The comparison revealed frequent backwashing and relaxation is a sustainable strategy for operation of the AnMBR.