Self Forming Dynamic Membrane BioReactor

CNR-IRSA is working with IIT Kanpur to pilot the Self Forming Dynamic Membrane BioReactor technology at the Kanpur demonstration site to evaluate how it performs in Indian conditions to remove bulk organics and nutrients.

The Self Forming Dynamic Membrane BioReacto (SFD-MBR) is an improvement of an ultrafiltration-based MBR where solid liquid separation is done through a self-forming cake layer that develops on a carrying surface.

The idea is to adopt the same scheme of out-in submerged MBR and replace the filtering membranes with materials having pore sizes larger by two or three orders of magnitude (i.e. 50-100 μm instead of the usual 0.5-0.05 μm of commercial UF-MBR). The main advantages of this technology are the robustness, resilience and cost-effectiveness of the filtering materials when compared to ultrafiltration membranes.

The process itself is run under very limited pressure gaps (normally below 50 mbar), therefore it is suitable for gravity operation, which reduces the energy needs substantially. Bench scale tests performed at CNR-IRSA (Italy) revealed the capability of this technology to produce effluents having similar quality of that normally observed in MBR permeate, except for the microbial indicators that can be easily abated through post-disinfection (low turbidity below 5 NTU allows for the adoption of UV disinfection).

Optimization of the operating conditions with a pilot scale prototype will be done at the Jajmau STP, Kanpur to assess the potential of this technology under real conditions and compare it with a conventional MBR.

Working principles

  • A lowcost microfiltration material to produce effluent suitable for irrigation.
  • The possibility of using the 'cake' (sludge layer) as a filtration medium.



About the removal efficiency:

The results of lab-scale experiments show TSS 98%, COD 95% and Turb <5 NTU.

Self forming dynamic membrane bioreactor

Main goals

  • The effluent quality should be suitable for unrestricted irrigation (post UV disinfection).
  • Test the long term operation at the pilot scale.
  • Monitor the operations and maintenance (O&M) requirements


Involved Partners