MBR Train Fouling Control in Membrane Bioreactors

Project title

Process optimisation and fouling control in membrane bioreactors for wastewater and drinking water treatment

Project initiator

Project coordinated by RWTH Aachen 

9 other partners are involved in the project

Project volume

approx. 2.05 Mio. € (EU subsidies)

Project start





Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) which combine biological treatment with a membrane separation step are among the most promising emerging technologies in the water treatment sector. The research project MBR-TRAIN provides an Early Stage Research Training on process optimisation and fouling control in MBRs for water treatment with the purpose of preparing and encouraging young scientists to take up a research career. The overall aim is to optimise the operation of MBRs taking into account inter alia membrane types, materials and configuration, operational settings as well as economic aspect. The findings shall be used to advance the modelling of MBR processes in order to improve the prediction of plant performance.


The consortium of MBR TRAIN comprise 10 partners:


- Universities: RWTH Aachen University, Cranfield University, Ghent University, Brno University of Technology, Politecnico di Milano, Delft University of Technology


- Research centers: Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin, IRSA CNR Reparto di Bari


- SMEs: Aquafin N.V., Thames Water


19 fellows will be hosted by the consortium to conduct the 6-to-36-month-research projects with the objective of strengthening the European Research Area.


3 MBR TRAIN Projects are undertaken at the KWB:


MBR2 (6 months) - Modelling of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) in MBR: The aim of this project is to develop a biological model incorporating EBPR mechanisms in order to optimize operation and to facilitate the design of other implementations.


MBR10 (24 months)- Investigation of MBR fouling by particles, colloidal and soluble organic matters: This project will identify the effective ways to control fouling and investigate the interaction between the membrane and the sludge matrix using a demonstration plant.


MBR12 (24 months) - Computational Fluid Dynamics applied on MBR systems: The objective is to develop a two-phase flow model using CFD simulation tool in order to optimize the aeration system.


Boris Lesjean (KWB)








Financed by the European Commission

Financial support: