MBBR processes

Moving bed biofilm reactor treatment systems

MBBR plants are composed of biological reactors in which the microorganisms attach to the carriers submerged in the wastewater to be treated and allowed to move freely. The biofilm is formed by the growth of microbial cells and the development of this biofilm varies depending on the type of wastewater. The gradual thickening of the biofilm affects the amount of oxygen present and the partial detachment of the film from the carriers, through the phenomenon known as ‘stripping’.

Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) plants

MBBR systems are moving-bed activated sludge biological treatment systems, i.e. attached growth biomass reactors. Unlike traditional systems, the activated sludge in the oxidation/nitrification reactor is not suspended in the wastewater, but attaches to plastic carriers consisting of a high specific surface area that is protected and floating inside the biological reactor. The carriers have a density that is close to that of water and remain suspended by means of insufflation of air delivered via special blowers.


Types of MBBR treatment plants

MBBR with only attached biomass or hybrid IFAS

MBBR plants can be divided into two types:
1) MBBR with only attached biomass. All the activated sludge in the bioreactor attaches to the surface of the carriers. It is therefore possible to process very high sludge concentrations and have large quantities of biomass in a small area in the bioreactor.
2) Hybrid MBBR process known as IFAS (Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge). The bioreactor is composed of two types of sludge: suspended cultures and attached biomass. IFAS plants are more flexible because they utilise the individual properties of the sludge for pollutant removal and the kinetics in relation to the characteristics of the incoming wastewater. Conversely, the sludge concentrations in the reactor are lower than those in MBBR plants with only attached biomass.

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