In this paper a method to determine the cycle time for sequencing batch membrane bioreactors (SBMBRs) is introduced. One of the advantages of SBMBRs is the simplicity of adapting them to varying wastewater composition. The benefit of this flexibility can only be fully utilised if the cycle times are optimised for the specific inlet load conditions. This requires either proactive and ongoing operator adjustment or active predictive instrument-based control. Determination of the cycle times for conventional sequencing batch reactor (SBR) plants is usually based on experience. Due to the higher mixed liquor suspended solids concentrations in SBMBRs and the limited experience with their application, a new approach to calculate the cycle time had to be developed. Based on results from a semi-technical pilot plant, the paper presents an approach for calculating the cycle time in relation to the influent concentration according to the Activated Sludge Model No. 1 and the German HSG (Hochschulgruppe) Approach. The approach presented in this paper considers the increased solid contents in the reactor and the resultant shortened reaction times. This allows for an exact calculation of the nitrification and denitrification cycles with a tolerance of only a few minutes. Ultimately the same approach can be used for a predictive control strategy and for conventional SBR plants.

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