Introducing the MBR Technology Hub: Making Best Available Wastewater Technology More Accessible, Faster

Leveraging two decades of experience, M|MBR expanded our 10-year partnership with Hi-Line Industries to launch the MBR Technology Hub with production and inventory in Austin, TX. We’ve created it by fusing strong partnerships with agile Texas-based firms like Hyperion, Specific Energy, Hi-Line Industries, and BluBox by Sciens, to global technology providers like MANN+HUMMEL, WTA Technologies, Toray Membrane USA, and STREAMETRIC. It is a universal resource for all things MBR including cutting-edge components from around the world and American-made products. The mission of the Hub is to drive innovation, rapidly deploy modular MBR solutions, and provide compatible replacement parts for all MBR plants in service today. Watch our video to see the Hub in action.

The Hub is a place where problems are solved and where innovation happens. But first and foremost, the Hub is a distribution center for MBR technologies. At any given time, there can be 150,000 ft2 to 300,000 ft2 of membrane filtration equipment in stock. Put another way, the Hub inventory will help communities by treating up to 3,000,000 gpd of wastewater when put into service. At the Hub, technology partners rely on M|MBR to guide end users to select the right solution based on customer preferences, project requirements and product specifications. The three membrane technologies from the Hub include:

The three membrane technologies from the Hub include:

  • MANN+HUMMEL BIO-CEL® L-2 Membrane Modules are M|MBR’s primary ultrafiltration (UF) solution.
    • The L-2 and M+ modules are compatible with select Ovivo and Microdyn Nadir systems.
    • The L-2 is interchangeable with the OV480 and BC480 products but can also be used to replace -400 and -416 BIO-CEL modules.
    • The L-2 is 15 to 39 times more durable in key areas than its predecessors. It is one of the only products on the market specifically designed to minimize the effects of clogging. Remediation time, in the event of clogging, can be 8 times faster as compared to other products.
    • The L-2 is very cost competitive.
    • The next-generation BIO-CEL M+ has a stackable, modular design and utilizes a higher-capacity PVDF membrane.
  • WTA MYTEX Membrane Modules are M|MBR’s microfiltration (MF) solution.
    • MYTEX module configurations are highly customizable, flexible and durable. MYTEX modules from the MBR Hub are built using US-manufactured, stainless-steel frames and locally made diffusers. 
    • MYTEX modules have a transmembrane pressure limit that is 2 to 4 times higher than similar products.  
    • MYTEX modules won’t dry out after they’re put into service making them ideal for short-term (rental) projects.
  • Toray MBR Membrane Modules delivered by M|MBR are compatible with selected systems by Enviroquip, Ovivo, and Kubota that use rigid plates.
    • Most Toray modules delivered from the Hub are built using US-manufactured, stainless-steel frames and locally made diffusers. 
    • In some cases, Hub modules can be used to double the filtration area of a legacy MBR system with no additional changes to the system.    

For owners that want to increase membrane filtration area or address persistent performance challenges, M|MBR can select replacement equipment from Hub inventory that will fit seamlessly into existing infrastructure. The replacement products supplied by M|MBR are backward compatible with many brands, which means that they drop into place, require no other changes, and have similar or better performance. M|MBR and Hub partners can deliver and install drop-in, upgrade solutions to immediately increase filtration capacity from 30 to 300 percent depending on the existing product type and site constraints. 

For example, the M|MBR team has helped to deliver the equivalent of about 1,000,000 Kubota rigid flat plates into hundreds of systems. It’s really good technology, and we recommend clients stick with it unless there are drivers to look at options. If they’re working well, don’t change. But, if additional filtration area is required, or if there are persistent performance challenges at a plant, then it can be a good idea to look at Toray-based alternatives. 

Whatever the membrane technology is, if operators need replacement modules, they need them fast. Owners and operators can’t afford to wait a year for MBR parts, they can’t be limited to one source for help, and they shouldn’t be stuck with less efficient, older products. The MBR Technology Hub brings together global product leaders, system integrators and application experts, under one roof, to make this critical MBR technology more accessible through collaboration. We’re connecting global technology leaders to small businesses in Texas to do big things when it comes to protecting one of our most valuable resources: clean water.

Modular MBR solutions

The M|MBR team specializes in the design and delivery of modular MBR technologies. Most recently we’ve developed a “palletized MBR” for small projects and are now assisting with the production and deployment of BluBox Units for larger applications. But our experience with modular systems didn’t start with BluBox. In fact, I helped to design and deliver a packaged MBR system called “MPAC” back in 2004. Then, in 2010, my team designed and delivered a completely prebuilt, packaged MBR system called “microBLOXTM”. Over a 5-year period, members of M|MBR helped to deliver 28 of these systems. Then, in 2019, M|MBR teamed up with BluBox, LLC., Hyperion, and Hi-Line, to design a new modular MBR system. The result of that project was the BluBox MBR Unit that can treat flows up to 130,000 gpd depending on its configuration. 

BluBox units are fully integrated, pre-built and pre-tested at the Hi-Line facility. The larger configuration is about 45-ft long, 8.5-ft wide and about 12-ft tall. Units are epoxy-coated carbon steel. They are built from the ground up at HiLine using technologies and resources from the MBR Hub. There are usually at least five systems in some stage of production or in inventory. Customers in some markets can purchase BluBox units directly from M|MBR. Customers can also go directly to BluBox, a subsidiary of Sciens Capital, to lease, rent or purchase equipment. A BluBox can typically be delivered in 14 to 20 weeks. In some cases, if there are units in stock, units can be shipped faster. Once a BluBox arrives onsite, it can be installed in a matter of days. The standard unit is designed around BIO-CEL L-2 technology but both Toray and MYTEX options are available depending on project requirements and customer preferences.

MBR innovations and partnerships with a digital focus

Membrane technology is a critical part of any MBR system, but it is only one part. At M|MBR we’re continuing a legacy of innovation that includes the development of all components and subsystems necessary for a complete MBR WWTP. Past innovation and current development projects include proprietary oxygen delivery systems, polymers, storm flow management, sludge treatment and a variety of digital tools. 

Some examples of the “digital” tools we’ve helped to create include our current project with Specific Energy to build a phone-first control platform and our long-standing partnership with STREAMETRIC to create a user-friendly remote monitoring platform. But there are many others. In fact, the M|MBR team has supported the development of 5 different remote monitoring technologies. Some of the systems included asset management, knowledge management, and MRP functionality. But the primary goal of each development project has been to build an efficient remote monitoring platform for MBR systems. 

In 2020, STREAMETRIC reached out to M|MBR for input on a cloud-based, membrane performance tracking system. Now, 2 years later, it is one of the most powerful tools our technicians have ever used. The team at STREAMETRIC have made it easy to set up accounts, to overlap multiple parameters and to track key data. The most powerful feature for us is the report generation tool. We’re able to set up informative weekly reports and to create in-depth periodic assessments.

Our mission: untap the potential of MBR technology and to make it available

There is nothing else like the MBR Technology Hub in the industry. We’ve brought global product leaders, system integrators, and application experts together, under one roof, to help solve the worsening water crisis and to address global supply chain issues. Working with other Texas companies, we’re driving innovation and making the best-available wastewater treatment readily accessible to communities in need and to the benefit of our shared environment.

We’re leveraging the Hub to offer all things MBR faster and unlock the potential of MBR to help protect one of our most valuable, and limited resources: water.