WP3: Exploring and developing Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors (MBBR) - Sweden Water Research


MBBR’s as an option for removal of micropollutants at municipal WWTPs

WP3: Exploring and developing Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors (MBBR)

MBBRs have been in operation for more than 20 years for BOD and nitrogen removal, but the idea to apply the biofilm process for degradation of micropollutants is more recent. Previous studies have shown the possibility to degrade certain compounds not being degraded in activated sludge processes.

In this project it will be tested how the biomass performing degradation of recalcitrant compounds can be promoted by rotation of carriers and sequential feeding to a starving biomass (Exeno™ MBBR). The possibility for post-treatment with degradation of transformation products from ozonation will also be investigated.


To develop Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors (MBBR) for removal of micro-pollutants, specifically for compounds that are recalcitrant to chemical oxidation.


  • Adaption of biomass to remove recalcitrant compounds by control of feed/food supply
  • Identification and characterisation of metabolites from selected micropollutants
  • Study of the potential for different MBBR set-ups and the combination of ozonation and MBBR
  • Determination of removal rates for compounds resistant to ozonation
  • Determination of removal rates for ozonation products

First results

Baseline measurements under oxic conditions for atenolol and carbamazepine.  Degradation of atenolol occurs while carbamazepine remains unaffected to biological treatment.


  • Gain understanding of removal mechanisms in MBBR’s
  • Improve the design of MBBR processes for removal of organic micropollutants
  • Development of a process solution for degradation of transformation Products from ozonation

MBBR pilot plant

Two MBBR systems with Z-400 carriers are located at Lundåkra wastewater treatment plant, Landskrona, Sweden.

Contact information

Key person
Ellen Edefell, Sweden Water Research/Lund University

Magnus Christensson, Veolia  Water Technologies AB, magnus.christensson@anoxkaldnes.com

Other participants
Per Falås, Lund University
Michael Cimbritz, Lund University
Marinette Hagman, Sweden Water Research

Project Coordinator
Prof. Kai Bester, kb@envs.au.dk Aarhus University, Dep. of Environ. Sci., Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde