comparing two start-up strategies for MBRs: experimental study and mathematical modelling

Giorgio Mannina, Gaetano Di Bella

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

49 Citazioni (Scopus)


The performance of a membrane bioreactor (MBR), and mechanisms of fouling formation, may differdue to the start-up. Therefore, the start-up can constitute an aspect that critically influences MBR performanceduring its lifespan. Indeed, the start-up can influence the mechanisms of membrane fouling,which is of paramount importance in an MBR. In order to gain insights on the effects of the start-up,both experimental and mathematical modelling studies were carried out on an MBR pilot plant. The MBRpilot plant constituted of a hollow fibre membrane module, in a submerged configuration, was fed byreal wastewater. Two experimental periods were carried out, lasting 65 days each, characterised by twodifferent MBR start-ups: without inoculum of activated sludge, and with inoculum of activated sludge.An integrated MBR mathematical model was applied to the two periods in order to combine the insightsgained from the experimental survey. The MBR model simulates both biological and physical processessimultaneously, taking into account the interactions between them. Two MBR model calibrations werecarried out for the two different experimental start-ups. Model calibration was carried out by means ofan innovative calibration protocol, based on the global sensitivity analysis, and the Generalised LikelihoodUncertainty Estimation. Thus, two sets of model parameters were assessed and compared. Bothexperimental and mathematical model results were analysed to quantify the effects of the two start-upson membrane fouling. The results showed only slight differences in terms of total pollutant removalefficiency. However, relevant differences appeared with respect to the fouling phenomenon between thetwo start-ups. The results demonstrated that the best choice, in terms of the start-up of MBR systems,comes from a compromise between minimisation of the fouling issues and high system performance.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)91-103
Numero di pagine13
RivistaBiochemical Engineering Journal
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1500.1502???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2300.2305???
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