A mini-review of modeling studies on membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment for municipal wastewaters
Ng, Aileen N.L. & Albert S. Kim
Membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology is a promising method for water and wastewater treatment because of its ability to produce high-quality effluent that meets water quality regulations. Due to the intrinsic complexity and uncertainty of MBR processes, basic models that can provide a holistic understanding of the technology at a fundamental level are of great necessity. Compared to experimental research and development, followed by commercialization of the technology, modeling studies for system design analysis and performance prediction are at a relatively rudimentary state. In this light, this review was conducted to provide an assessment of present efforts in modeling MBR systems, specifically for municipal wastewater treatment. Models considered in this review are classified into three categories: biomass kinetic models, membrane fouling models, and integrated models with (light) couplings to describe the complete MBR process. The specific features, unique advantages, and capturing capability of experimental observations of each model are discussed and assessed. Crucial components in MBR modeling studies are carefully selected and assessed, based on the importance of their roles in characterizing MBR performance, and future MBR modeling directions are suggested.