Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR)

Technology Overview

Conventional wastewater treatment consumes 2-3% of a nation’s electricity production. This is due a 100 years reliance on bubble diffusion for conventional treatment plants which will typically suffer energy losses of 65-70% in the process because of the oxygen transfer limitations in the process. The Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) does not have any such limitations.

MABR does not rely on bubbles to deliver oxygen. The MABR uses hollow fibre, gas permeable membranes, to support a fixed film ecosystem for the biology which allows for direct delivery of oxygen to the micro-organisms. MABR can achieve 95% oxygen transfer rates which results in superior energy (75% saving) and process (8kgO2/ kWh) performance.

The MABR combines biological treatment for carbon and nitrogen removal which brings effluent to required discharge standards, all incorporated into a compact 'drop in' structure. Biological treatment is accomplished through an attached growth system supported by an array of hollow fibre membranes. The MABR habitat creates an ideal environment to support a robust biofilm which absorbs and consumes carbon and nitrogen based pollutants. This offers improved nutrient removal, energy efficiency and impressive process resilience in a reduced footprint.

In summary the MABR achieves superior energy performance (75% saving), lower sludge production (50% less sludge), along with impressive process resilience (Biofilm) in a greatly reduced footprint (up to 80%).

Technology Features & Specifications

The technology uses hollow fibre gas permeable membranes to support a biofilm (fixed film) which allows for direct delivery of oxygen to the pollutant degrading micro-organisms for high efficiency wastewater treatment. The technology provider has incorporated its MABR technology into a submersible modular cage unit. 



  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Length: 2.2 m
  • Width: 1.6 m
  • Height: 2.0 m
  • Weight (Dry):650 kg
  • Volume: 7 m3
  • Membrane Surface Area: 2100 m2
  • Specific Surface Area: 300 m2/m3

Potential Applications

The technology provider tackles the energy intensive wastewater treatment with an innovative ‘Drop in’ solution for wastewater aeration, the Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR). The MABR can complement existing treatment systems and deliver up to 50% additional biological capacity in an existing aeration or alternatively replace legacy systems.

The MABR is the ideal solution for:

  • Municipal wastewater ('Drop in' aeration additional biological capacity, new build, package plant)
  • Industrial Wastewater
 (Food and Beverage, Brewery, Pharma, and Leachates)
  • Transitioning to low energy consumption aerobic biological treatment (Energy Neutral)

Market Trends and Opportunities

With partners, it is estimated that technology provider will have an attainable market of US$3.9bn in 2016 (US$4.9bn in 2017)

Municipal Aeration segment [US$4.3bn+ TAM] and sub-segments within Industrial [US$2.2bn+ TAM]

The technology offering can capture share from other non-Aeration technologies (e.g. MBR) and encroach on value chain portions (e.g. clarification, sludge treatment). Potential partners with the technology provider will have a strong first mover advantage in MABR, and as such can capture the majority of segment value. The “platform” solution can be “set” to optimise value proposition for particular usage cases; today it is most compelling in these situations:

Municipal: < 5-10 MGD / 50K-100K PE (~95% of installations), esp. Expansions & New Build

Industrial: Pharma, Food & Beverage, Refining and Other (Landfill leachate)

Customer Benefits


  •  Drop in deployment for easy refurbishment or new build
  •  Drop in for additional capacity (IFAS style, up to 50% increase in process capacity of an AS plant)
  •  Highly automated
  •  Dense membrane lasting up to 20 years (10 year guarantee)
  •  Direct transfer of Oxygen to Bacteria (90%+)
  •  Simultaneous Nit-Denit
  •  Highly resistant to shock loads
  •  Highly scalable (500PE -> 200,000PE)



  • CAPEX is same or less than competition
  • Energy savings – up to 75%
  • Sludge savings – up to 50%
  • Footprint savings – up to 80%
  • Resource efficiency (Human capital) – 30-50% saving

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