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Aqualia presents the results in AnMBR applied to urban wastewater


The technology of the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) overcomes the main drawbacks compared to its aerobic analogue (MBR)

As demonstrated in LIFE Methamorphosis, the technology of the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) overcomes the main drawbacks compared to its analogue, the aerobic MBR: high energy consumption, excessive sludge production, foam formation problems, N2O emissions and unwanted sludge heating (in the case of industrial effluents). The AnMBR applied to the treatment of municipal wastewater can achieve a disruptive advance in the search for sustainability and the circular economy in the treatment of wastewater, since potentially the energy balance is positive and allows obtaining a biogas suitable for energy use.
So far, previous experiences with AnMBR that treat municipal wastewater have been carried out under laboratory conditions (Lei, et al. 20181). However, since 2018 Aqualia has operated 3 AnMBR plants on a demonstrative scale in Spain, each located in a different climatic area (Atlantic, Mediterranean and continental), demonstrating that the ambient temperature is not an absolute limitation for this technology. In each case, the technical feasibility was evaluated in terms of energy balance, degree of compliance with the discharge requirements and ultrafiltration performance.

Last November in Madrid, Cecilia Dorado, researcher of the Life Methamorphosis project, presented the results of these three experiences in the context of the urban water cycle. During more than one year of operation, in all three cases the biological process was stable, reasonable flows were obtained (10–20 L · m-2 · h-1) and the methane content of the biogas reached in some cases until the 80%.

The mentioned three experiences, added to those already existing by Aqualia in the industrial sector (one of them tested in the LIFE Methamorphosis prototype UMBRELLA, see attached image), have allowed Aqualia:

- To be leaders in the knowledge of this technology
- To increase the maturity of the AnMBR
- To conclude that AnMBR technology has a promising future, as it has great commercial potential (both in the industrial and municipal water sector) and environmental (positive energy balance and renewable energy production).

 1 Lei, Z., Yang, S., Li, Y., Wen, W., Wang, X., Chen, R. ELSEVIER Bioresource Technology (2018) Application of anaerobic membrane bioreactors to municipal wastewater treatment at ambient temperature: A review of achievements, challenges, and perspectives.