The potential of bio-energy recovery from real municipal wastewater was investigated using a one-stage pilot-scale submerged anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) for a range of HRTs from 24 h to 6 h at ambient temperature around 25 °C. This pilot-scale AnMBR demonstrated a high COD removal efficiency of over 90% during an operation of 217 days for municipal wastewater treatment. The energy balance of the AnMBR was calculated from both theoretical and practical aspects. The theoretical net energy potential was calculated as 0.174 kWh/m3 by applying operational data to empirical equations, obtaining a bio-energy recovery efficiency of 69.4%. The practical net energy potential was estimated as −0.014 kWh/m3 using the powers of engines applied in a full-scale wastewater treatment plant. This is considerably lower than that of the conventional activated sludge process. These results are evidence of the potential of the AnMBR and feasibility in the treatment of municipal wastewater treatment.
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