• Both MBR and MBBR technologies are highly effective in removing contaminants and can produce a high-quality effluent.
  • Both MBR and MBBR technologies have a small footprint compared to other sewage treatment technologies, so they can be easily installed in locations where there is not a large area available to locate a wastewater treatment plant.
  • Both MBR and MBBR technologies can be operated autonomously and automated, reducing the need for manpower.

On the other hand, they are also two technologies with different characteristics.  There is no question of whether MBR or MBBR is better or worse. The choice between MBR and MBBR depends on the specific requirements of the wastewater treatment project, such as effluent quality standards, available space, budget, and the ability to handle shock loads. 



TechnologyThe first portion of MBR tends to look exactly like a standard activated sludge process. However, rather than moving on to a settling tank after going through the activated sludge process, the water passes through a membrane that efficiently removes solidsApplying a moving bed of support material to grow microorganisms
Removal of small particlesMBR systems can remove smaller particles than MBBR reactors, which means they are more effective in removing specific contaminants, such as viruses or bacteriaNot as effective as MBR
Effluent QualityProduce a higher quality treated water due to their ability to remove smaller particles. The treated water can be reused in production processes and in other applications such as washing, irrigation, sanitation, etcRelying on biofilm growth on floating media for treatment, which may not provide the same level of clarification. Several methods are available after MBBR for separating liquids from excess biofilm, including flocculation, filtration, DAF and sedimentation basins
High loading applicationsSuitable for high load applicationsLess effective in high load applications
FlexibilityOffer greater versatility in the variety of contaminants that can be treatedOffer better performance in wastewater that is not highly complex and requires simple operations, such as COD or BOD reduction
Tolerance to Shock LoadsMBR systems are generally more sensitive to shock loads, such as sudden increases in organic or hydraulic loadsBiological films attached to carriers are highly resistant to organic/inorganic concentration and hydraulic loads, temperature changes, pH rises and falls, and changes in concentration of pollutants
FootprintMBR systems typically require a smaller footprint compared to MBBR systems. The membranes used in MBR systems allow for higher biomass concentrations, reducing the reactor size, and the membrane filtration saves the space of a secondary clarifierMBBR systems require larger tanks to accommodate the floating media and provide sufficient contact time for biological processes. Also, a polishing step for separating liquids from excess biofilm may be required
Energy ConsumptionMBR systems require higher power consumption for operation. This is mainly due to the need to maintain the required pressure to overcome the resistance of the membraneMBBR systems typically require less energy compared to MBR systems because they do not involve membrane filtration
Capital Cost The initial design and construction investment is relatively lowThe initial investment is high when additional filtration is required
Installation and operating costsHigher operation and maintenance costs due to the presence of membranes, which have higher energy consumption to maintain the required pressure and require more maintenance i.e.  periodic cleaning and replacementMBBR is known for being a low-maintenance process
Start-up MBR biology starts quickly and has quick resultsThe MBBR bio-filming period may take more than 3 weeks, and the debugging period is longer

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