Aug 30

In today’s world, where industrialization and urbanization are advancing at an unprecedented pace, effective wastewater management is more crucial than ever before. Wastewater treatment goes beyond just a technical issue; it plays a pivotal role in safeguarding public health, protecting the environment, and sustaining economic growth. Perfecting wastewater treatment is paramount for environmental conservation and public health.Conventional treatment methods often require significant amounts of energy, especially during aeration processes. As energy costs continue to rise, these treatments can become economically unsustainable and contribute to a larger carbon footprint.The construction, operation, and maintenance of traditional wastewater treatment facilities can be capital-intensive. Furthermore, as these plants age, retrofitting or upgrading them to meet new standards or to incorporate new technologies can be costly.

The Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) stands as a cutting-edge solution in the realm of wastewater management. It synergistically combines the strengths of both biofilm and activated sludge methodologies, offering an enhanced treatment efficacy. Originating in the 1980s, MBBR has, over the past twenty years, gained global recognition as a straightforward, resilient, adaptable, and space-efficient technique, suitable for treating wastewater in both municipal and industrial contexts.. The method employs an aeration tank filled with plastic carriers, designed to support biofilm growth. Its compact design paired with cost-effective treatment capabilities renders it highly advantageous. The primary goals of implementing MBBR include water recycling and the removal or recovery of nutrients. Thus, redefining wastewater not as waste, but as a potential resource.This technology has been increasingly adopted in various parts of the world.

Understanding the basics of biological wastewater treatment

Biological wastewater treatment is a process that uses microorganisms, primarily bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, to degrade and remove organic contaminants from wastewater. This type of treatment is considered nature-based because it relies on natural processes to break down waste materials. It uses natural processes, minimizing the use of chemicals.It’s capable of significantly reducing organic pollutants,suitable for a wide range of wastewaters, from municipal sewage to specific industrial effluents.

MBBR in Wastewater Treatment

MBBR which is commonly known as the popular biological wastewater water treatment. MBBR was developed with the objective of addressing certain challenges commonly associated with other biological wastewater treatment methods, and it has proven to be highly effective in achieving this goal. MBBR leverages the advantages of biological processes, particularly the activated sludge process and biofilm media, while mitigating or reducing the drawbacks typically associated with biological wastewater treatment.

MBBR is a highly effective biological water treatment process which is based on a combination of biofilm media and conventional activated sludge processes. This way, water can be treated in both anaerobic and aerobic environments.Due to its numerous advantages, MBBR has gained popularity as a preferred method for biological wastewater treatment. MBBR employs plastic carriers coated with biofilm to break down waste. Besides its effectiveness in organic matter removal, MBBR is also an innovative approach for nitrification and denitrification.

How MBBR-Based Wastewater Treatment Work

Here is a more detailed breakdown of how the MBBR process works. One helpful way to understand this process is to consider the different components involved in MBBR design that work together to make this technique possible.


Basin: The MBBR process occurs within a basin, also referred to as a reactor or an aeration tank. The size of this container varies based on the filtration requirements of a specific facility. Influent wastewater enters this basin for treatment and may proceed to a second basin for further MBBR processing or for an alternative water treatment process. MBBR aeration tanks are open at the top, allowing the water to be exposed to the open air, making it an aerobic filtration process.

Media: The basin is filled with numerous small plastic chips, known as MBBR media or carriers. These mbbr media can occupy as much as 50 to 70% of the tank’s volume. Their design maximizes the surface area available for biofilm growth. Many carriers resemble wheel-shaped pasta, and they are designed to have a density similar to water, allowing them to mix throughout the fluid rather than floating or sinking.

Aeration Grid: To facilitate the effective movement of the media throughout the tank, an aeration grid is employed. This device essentially acts as a fan situated at the bottom of the reactor tank. The aeration grid helps keep carriers in motion, ensuring they come into contact with all the waste present and efficiently decompose it. Additionally, it introduces more oxygen into the tank.

Sieve: When visualizing the MBBR system described thus far, one might wonder how the media remains inside the tank, preventing them from escaping through the exit. This concern is addressed by a sieve attached to the tank. The mesh material allows water to pass through while keeping the plastic carriers within the basin.

With an understanding of these components that make MBBR possible, it becomes straightforward to comprehend how this process functions. The microorganisms attached to the media in the tank consume the waste in the water, resulting in cleaner and safer water for reuse or disposal. The specific type of microorganisms introduced into the tank depends on the type of waste that needs to be eliminated.

As previously mentioned, MBBR doesn’t solely target general waste. It also plays a crucial role in nitrification and denitrification processes. Nitrification involves the conversion of ammonium into nitrate, while denitrification occurs when oxygen is metabolized, converting nitrate into nitrogen gas. Given that these are biological processes, MBBR serves as an excellent facilitator for these transformations.

Once again, the objectives of the MBBR process determine the types of microorganisms introduced. For denitrification, for instance, it is most effective to employ denitrifying microorganisms like Pseudomonas, Paracoccus, or Alcaligenes.

The activated sludge, essentially comprising bacteria, thrives on the inner surface of these carriers. This enables the breakdown of organic matter from the wastewater by the bacteria.Excess sludge is subsequently separated from the carriers and flows along with the treated water towards the final separator. This process also aids in controlling excessive bacterial growth. In any scenario requiring a biological process to enhance wastewater quality, MBBR stands out as a valuable method to consider.

MBBR Process

A critical factor in the MBBR (Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor) process is ensuring consistent and frequent contact between the microorganisms attached to the carrier and the components of the biofilm wastewater. Achieving this interaction is vital for effective treatment.The quality and characteristics of the biofilm formed on the carrier’s surface are influenced not only by the shear forces within the tank but also by the composition of pollutants in the wastewater (substrate). Rapid and vigorous growth of biomass can lead to increased pollution in the wastewater due to the presence of biodegradable contaminants.One advantage of MBBR systems is their ease of installation. The installation process is straightforward and not overly complex.In the reaction tank, carriers can be adequately moved by pumping water through an anaerobic treatment process or by using submerged, slow-rotating mixers.As a result, the biofilms remain thin, as they are shielded from excessive shear forces within the pores. It’s crucial to remember that oxygen is essential for aerobic biodegradation processes, and thin biofilms are vital for optimal substrate supply (removable pollutants and nutrients) to microorganisms.

Issues arising from a reduction in biodegradation efficiency are primarily related to the thickness of biofilms, which reduces the active carrier surface area. Fortunately, this problem is not encountered with the MBBR Biochip 25.The MBBR Biochip process is unique in that it ensures that biofilms attempting to grow out of the pores and colonize them remain thin due to the influence of shear forces. This design feature allows for consistently high biological removal rates and reliable process stability.

Advantages of MBBR

The MBBR methodology can adapt to a variety of applications to achieve targeted outcomes. Some prevalent industrial uses for the MBBR approach are:
Quick bounce-back from operational disruptions Space-efficient design Augmented processing capacity Enhancements in treatment quality – elimination of nitrogen and BOD Reduced operator oversight and procedural intricacy Provision for future growth
Furthermore, implementing the MBBR method comes with numerous advantages. A few notable ones are:
Ease of maintenance Straightforward scalability Monetary advantages in terms of discharge expenses Accommodates substantial wastewater volumes Cost-effective option Space-saving design, optimizing storage space
The properties of the biofilm that forms on the carrier’s surface are shaped not just by the type and amount of contaminants in the wastewater but also by the tank’s internal flow dynamics. This ensures that the MBBR system consistently delivers dependable biological contaminant removal and maintains process stability.

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