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Membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems are an example of an emerging advanced wastewater treatment technology that has to date been successfully applied at a variety of relatively small plants. Two changes have recently occurred: significantly larger MBR plants are being designed, and competition among four manufacturers offering similar membrane equipment is intensifying. Each of these changes requires increased and more complex decision-making by Owners during the design and procurement processes. Selection of the most appropriate membrane equipment for an application now depends on a variety of factors, in addition to the fundamental capital and operating costs. Key criteria such as the method and frequency of cleaning, the history and projected life of the membrane equipment, experience in comparable applications, and the availability of technical support and spare parts, are each critical to a successful long-term installation. The configurations and sizes of the competing equipment must also be considered, as they affect the sizes and shapes of the required tanks and structures. These factors can result in the need for a price-competitive procurement process that is conducted during the preliminary design phase of a project.

This paper describes the competitive bidding and evaluation approaches used to procure membrane equipment for three large MBR projects. Each project is used as a case study to illustrate the use of various selection criteria on each evaluation, and the effect of the evaluation approach on project costs. It is concluded that the selection criteria and evaluation approach can have significant project performance and cost benefits. The choice of evaluation approach can also have significant effects on the membrane equipment market and possibly on future MBR applications.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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