Key Message

Seasonal variability, batch production and cleaning and sanitizing operations lead to highly variable food and beverage wastewater, requiring robust and adaptive treatment technologies. Berghof external membranes handle this variability in the best way: the cross-flow operation and fouling prevention strategies – together with the adaptive mode of operation – provides the most reliable and cost-effective process for treating the wastewater.

Benefits for the F&B industry of MBR Treatment with tubular UF

The membrane bioreactor is an evolution of the conventional activated sludge process, where the clarifiers are replaced by UF membranes. The effluent quality is superior and free of solids and turbidity. Unlike alternative technologies UF membranes are able to reach COD removals up to 99%. This with a minimum footprint – an important constraint in the food and beverage facilities where the available space is often limited.

The Berghof tubular MBR for treating the low-medium strength F&B wastewater brings additional advantages over the alternative technologies:


Robustness against wastewater variability. The organic load peaks are known to overstrain the conventional treatments and can promote fouling of submerged membranes. Berghof systems are easily adapted to fluctuations, providing the most stable operation under any circumstance. Berghof membranes provide long lifespan, easily exceeding 8 – 10 years.


Increased bioprocess efficiency. Membranes allow the operation with long sludge age. The specialized biomass is less affected by influent variabilities, presence of cleaning agents, biocides and pesticides and has the best nitrification capacity.

Zero odor

Closed UF system. Zero odor emission and minimum risk of health and safety-related issues. Hygiene standards are known to be especially high in the F&B sector. External UF systems avoid contact between the biological sludge and the surrounding atmosphere. Membrane maintenance operations are simple, safer for operators, and require minimum downtime.

Food and beverage MBR wastewater treatment - the process

The waste streams generated in the food and beverage production are mixed in the equalization tank. Here, chemicals are often required for neutralization, since the use of acid and alkaline products for cleaning and sanitizing results in a highly variable pH. 

Some food production processes release oil into the wastewater: in these cases, a DAF pretreatment is implemented for avoiding the impact of oil on the biological process.

The tubular MBR is the core process for treating the low-medium strength food and beverage wastewater. The biological treatment comprises anoxic and aerobic stages when nitrogen removal is required. If not, only the aerated bioreactor is installed for removing the organic pollutants.

The MBR effluent fully complies with the requirements for discharge into a receiving water body. Alternatively, it can be reused in non-contact applications (steam generation, cooling towers…). In those reuses that require deionized water, a final reverse osmosis is implemented.

food and beverage MBR wastewater treatment PFD

The wastewater treatment plant in many food and beverage facilities is out-of-date. The external UF membranes facilitate the retrofit and upgrading of existing CASP or SBR systems to an MBR. By simply coupling the external tubular UF to the existing bioreactor, the effluent quality is improved. In addition, the capacity of the plant is increased up to 3-4 times, as a result of operating the bioreactor with higher MLSS. The conversion to MBR is fast and simple. External UF skids are modular plug&play systems that require minimum civil works.


Case Study

MBR Effluent Treatment | Food and beverage industry

Holland Malt B.V., part of Bavaria Brewery, is a malt producer
located on the northern coast of The Netherlands. Since
1938 the company has been producing brewer’s malt for
leading beer brands such as Bavaria, Heineken, Carlsberg
and Budweiser.

The challenge:

  • In order to meet increasing demand, Holland Malt has decided to double its malting capacity in its Eemshaven plant. Unfortunately, doubling the production capacity means doubling the water consumption. Thus, Holland Malt needed a reliable and stable system that could provide high-quality permeate which can be reused for the production of malt while
    providing significant cost savings.

download the case study

Case study

Manufactured in Germany


Made in a state-of-the art LEAN-production facility, with highly-trained production personnel and materials of the highest quality.

With 50 years of experience and more than 2.000 projects worldwide, Berghof Membranes is the leading manufacturer of high quality tubular membranes.  

Tubular UF Membrane Modules

To prevent fouling and clogging, Berghof Membranes developed its line of robust tubular UF (ultrafiltration) membrane modules based on inside-out crossflow filtration. 

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Membrane Skid systems

Berghof Membranes developed B-SMART®, a customizable external membrane filtration system that can be designed with various features and functionalities. 

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Pilot systems & Labscale testing

Bridging the gap between lab-scale testing and manufacturing. Piloting gives you the confidence to apply the technology for your specific wastewater challenges.

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B-CARE® Service and Support

The B-CARE® program is an end-to-end comprehensive program developed to support our OEM partners from the piloting and engineering phase to operational system monitoring.

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Customer stories

Case Studies

50 years of experience and more than 2.000 project references across the globe.


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Think outside the box

When it comes to membrane filtration, think outside the box and contact Berghof Membranes today.

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