Airlift MBR

Developed for wastewater treatment, Airlift MBR applies the proven X-Flow tubular membranes. The membranes are placed in skids outside of the bioreactor, making the process clean and easy to operate. Airlift MBR is suitable for projects with a small to medium sized capacities. 



  • Membrane placement outside the bioreactor: clean and accessible
  • High permeate quality through true ultrafiltration 
  • Turbidity < 0.1 NTU and Silt Density Index < 3
  • Fully automated cleaning and dosing of low-cost chemicals
  • Airlift filtration process boasts low energy use, simple layout, high flux rates and low TMP to limit membrane fouling
  • Fully automatic operation, logging of operating parameters
  • Fully enclosed to prevent operator exposure to fumes or aerosols
  • Small footprint
  • MLSS of 8-15 g/l
  • <7,5MLD 
  • With Helix technology

typical use

For efficient wastewater treatment, Pentair has developed the Airlift™ Membrane BioReactor (MBR). The Airlift™ MBR system consists of a loop with the membranes positioned outside the bioreactor tank, as opposed to submerged concepts with the membranes inside or in a separate part of the bioreactor.
The membrane modules are arranged vertically and aerated continuously. The turbulence created by the air injection enables high flux rates at a very low Trans Membrane Pressure (TMP) and a low energy consumption of 0.25 kWh/m³.

The continuous aeration is the main driving force for the circulation of the activated sludge, while the feed pump is only used to overcome the hydraulic losses. 

Periodic backflushing and/or relaxation intervals are used to control the cake layer formation inside the membrane tubes and to extend the intervals between maintenance cleanings. The continuous aeration also controls fouling inside individual membrane tubes. 

The 3 m long 8” modules allow a bioreactor to run up to 15 g/l MLSS biomass with a limited space requirement, while offering a clean and safe environment.

Helix flux enhancement technology

Airlift MBR is now equipped with the Helix technology, which is tested on large scale in a live environment. This brings the following advantages (depending on the feedwater quality):

  •  higher performance (flux)
  •  less energy consumption 
  •  less footprint

In a municipal wastewater testcase we had a 17% higher performance, 17% less energy consumption and 17% less footprint. 


Airlift MBR uniquely combines membranes with biological treatment. With carefully selected partners for the biological part, Pentair develops innovative and ready-to-use membrane installations that meet both regulatory and financial KPI’s. The Pentair scope consists of the modular skid concept, X-Flow tubular membranes, engineering, commissioning and process optimization. 

As one of the world’s foremost membrane technology knowledge centers, we share our scientific know-how and practical experience with our partners to make the difference in challenging filtration projects. Our unique services during start-up and commissioning ensure a flawlessly functioning MBR that will beat the expectations.

Fields of application

The need for reusing wastewater, both industrial and municipal, requires top quality membranes which provide directly reuseable water. The ultrafiltration membranes applied can be compared to those used in drinking water plants. Energy consumption is at the level of submerged membrane systems or lower, due to the efficient use of process conditions for flux enhancement. 

Another major advantage of the Airlift MBR technology is that the membrane modules are placed outside the bioreactor in a clean and dry setup. The wastewater itself is inside the membranes rather than outside, thus eliminating the problem of maintaining modules submerged in activated sludge. The membranes are easily accessible and cleaned.

For capacities >7,5 MLD the application of our Airlift MBR Megablock can be of interest.

Featured cases

Sigma-Water slider image

Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Coffee, waste streams

Ootmarsum slider image

Ootmarsum, The Netherlands

Airlift™ MBR technology

Terneuzen, Netherlands

Municipal wastewater

Pentair logo

As part of its separation into a new pure play water company, a new Pentair website has launched. Please visit the new to learn more about our exciting new company and your favorite brands!