Applications of Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactors for Wastewater Treatment

  • Simon Murray

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Despite being the subject of peer reviewed research since the mid-1980s, the conservative nature of the wastewater treatment industry means that the commercial application of membrane aerated biofilm reactors has not realized the potential that the published research demonstrates.

The early research demonstrated the ability of membrane aerated biofilm reactors to achieve good levels of pollutant removal from various types of wastewater, but also exposed several weaknesses of the technology (i.e. cost of membranes, control of biofilm thickness) which have prevented the concept of MABfRs being developed in viable wastewater treatment technologies.

However, as membrane technology has developed, the cost of suitable membranes has fallen, prompting the research community to revisit the concept. This later batch of research has identified several niche applications where membrane supported biofilms can be used for effective removal of pollutants from water.

Using the MABfR for the treatment of secondary effluent as a polishing step is another niche application which has been identified and is examined in this work; leading to the development of a patented treatment technology – the BioSettler.
Date of AwardJul 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorDavid Rooney (Supervisor) & Ronnie Magee (Supervisor)


  • Membranes
  • Biofilms
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Mass Transfer

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