Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

Project Water Recycling and Reuse by Application of Membrane Bioreactors: Textile and Municipal Wastewater as Examples

- Limited water resources and increasing environmental pollution are main problems in most Third Countries. A new membrane bioreactor (MBR) system will be developed for recycling and reuse of wastewater. Textile and municipal wastewater as the main sources of wastewater in North Africa will be used for bench- and pilot-scale tests.
-Extremely low concentrated and germ free effluents can be achieved with MBR systems, producing only small amounts of excess sludge. The increased biodegradation requires a low cut-off (e.g. ultra filtration), which is not used in known MBR-systems.
-Nevertheless, the specific costs for wastewater reuse in Third Countries have to be reduced.
-New membrane materials, innovative module concepts and the combination with anaerobic bioreactors (less energy and CO2-production) will be used for reaching the proposed goals.

Project number ICA3-CT-1999-00013
Acronym MBR-Recycling
Geographical coverage Austria, Algeria, Germany
Budget (in €) 540000
Programme INCO MED (FP5)
Objectives - A three year research project is proposed for the development and application of improved biological systems for recycling and reuse of textile and municipal wastewater.
- Aerobic and anaerobic membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems will be further developed with the following objectives:

•    Improved biological degradation for the removal of recalcitrant compounds and complete germ reduction, absolutely necessary for water recycling and reuse
•    Reduction of investment costs by improving the specific flux rates
•    Reduction of operation costs by using anaerobic systems (methane production), by developing low energy membrane modules and by reducing the excess sludge production
•    Reduction of the specific treatment costs to 1 – 2 EUR/m3
•    Demonstration of the feasibility of MBR systems for water recycling and reuse with pilot tests in the textile industry and in a municipal wastewater plant

Results Development of an economic and payable technology for water treatment and recycling
•    Business management analysis
Removal of hazardous and recalcitrant compounds as well as germs and viruses from the food chain
•    Determination via germ and virus detection as well as quality control with biotests
Investigation of the feasibility, the performance, the safety of operation and the operational costs for MBR-systems
•    Determination during on-site pilot tests with textile and municipal wastewater
Minimizing the operational of costs of MBR-Systems by reducing the pressure drop and using submerged membrane systems
•    Reduction in specific energy consumption
Decreasing the investment costs by comparison of different membrane materials
•    Higher specific flow rates
Energy balance of anaerobic MBR-Systems
•    Methane gas production in relation to energy consumption of membrane filtration
Reduction in excess sludge production
•    Carbon balances, microscopic sludge determination and comparison with conventional systems
Improved biodegradation due to the selected separation of macromolecules
•    Comparison with the existing conventional wastewater treatment systems
Reuse of the treated water
•    Test for selected applications e.g. in the textile production
Period [01/03/2000 - 28/02/2003]


    Coordinator acts as project coordinator
    Country Germany
    Web site
    Contact KICKARTZ Peter (Dr.),
    Position: Coordinator
    Phone/fax: +49-53-23723015 , +49-53-23723500
  • Centre de Biotechnologie de Sfax
    Country Tunisia
    Contact Mr. R. Ellouz,
    Phone/fax: + 216 4 274 110, +216 4 275 373 , +216 4 275 970
  • Institut Algerien du Petrole de Boumerdes
    Country Algeria
    Contact Abdenour Si-salah ,
    Phone/fax: +213. 1. 818388, +213. 1. 818388

Funding sources

  • European Commission
    Source EC INCO MED
    Programme INCO MED
    Funding rate 100