Bio-layer management in anaerobic membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment

David Jeison, Jules B. van Lier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Membrane separation technology represents an alternative way to achieve biomass retention in anaerobic bioreactors for wastewater treatment. Due to high biomass concentrations of anaerobic reactors, cake formation is likely to represent a major cause of flux decline. In the presented research, experiments are performed on the effect of biomass concentration and level of gas sparging on the hydraulic capacity of a submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor. Both parameters significantly affected the hydraulic capacity, with biomass exerting the most pronounced effect. After 50 days of continuous operation the critical flux remained virtually unchanged, despite an increase in membrane resistance, suggesting that biomass characteristics and hydraulic conditions determine the bio-layer formation rather than the membrane's fouling level. The concept of bio-layer management is introduced to describe the programmed combination of actions performed in order to control the formation of biomass layer over membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-86
Number of pages6
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaerobic
  • Bio-layer management
  • Critical flux
  • Flux decline
  • MBR


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