This paper provides an overview of current electric energy consumption of full-scale municipal MBR installations based on literature review and case studies. Energy requirements of several MBRs were linked to operational parameters and reactor performance. Total and specific energy consumption data were analysed on a long-term basis with special attention given to treated flow, design capacity, membrane area and effluent quality. The specific energy consumption of an MBR system is dependent on many factors, such as system design and layout, volume of treated flow, membrane utilization and operational strategy. Operation at optimal flow conditions results in a low specific energy consumption and energy efficient process. Energy consumption of membrane related modules was in the range of 0.5–0.7 kWh/m3 and specific energy consumption for membrane aeration in flat sheet (FS) was 33–37% higher than in a hollow fibre (HF) system. Aeration is a major energy consumer, often exceeding 50% share of total energy consumption. In consequence, coarse bubble aeration applied for continuous membrane cleaning remains the main target for energy saving actions. Also, a certain potential for energy optimization without immediate danger of affecting the quality of the produced effluent was observed.
Keywords: energy consumption, energy efficiency, full-scale, membrane bioreactor (MBR), operation, performance