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Energy Usage and Control at a Membrane Bioreactor Facility

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Membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment has come of age in the United States, and is now considered for advanced treatment on facilities of 15 mgd and more. It offers the advantages of high clarity effluent without secondary clarifiers or filters, and the capability to perform in a very compact layout and configuration. As utility agencies consider MBR treatment, they may tend to overlook its high energy requirements for its obvious benefits.

MBR facilities require a high commitment of energy, and are often the most energy-intensive biological treatment process. In addition to aeration air, anoxic mixers, and sludge recirculation, MBR systems are unique in requiring additional air supplies to scour the membranes frequently. They also may have permeate pumps, backpulse pumps, foam pumping systems, chemical cleaning systems, compressors and vacuum systems. Scour air requirements may often exceed process air demand. Attached horsepower is very high, and backup power systems must be large for full operation in a power outage.

The Forsyth County Water Reclamation Facility in Cumming, Georgia faced the same issue of high power consumption that has been observed at other MBR plants. This issue was addressed by design features before construction, and in operational assessments after the facility was commissioned in February 2004.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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