Extensive research has focussed on the development of novel high retention membrane bioreactor (HR-MBR) systems for wastewater reclamation in recent years. HR-MBR integrates high rejection membrane separation with conventional biological treatment in a single step. High rejection membrane separation processes currently used in HR-MBR applications include nanofiltration, forward osmosis, and membrane distillation. In these HR-MBR systems, organic contaminants can be effectively retained, prolonging their retention time in the bioreactor and thus enhancing their biodegradation. Therefore, HR-MBR can offer a reliable and elegant solution to produce high quality effluent. However, there are several technological challenges associated with the development of HR-MBR, including salinity build-up, low permeate flux, and membrane degradation. This paper provides a critical review on these challenges and potential opportunities of HR-MBR for wastewater treatment and water reclamation, and aims to guide and inform future research on HR-MBR for fast commercialisation of this innovative technology.
Luo, W., Hai, F. I., Price, W. E., Guo, W., Ngo, H. H., Yamamoto, K. & Nghiem, L. D. (2014). High retention membrane bioreactors: challenges and opportunities. Bioresource Technology, 167 539-546.