Modeling nitrous oxide emissions in membrane bioreactors: Advancements, challenges and perspectives

Zeyu Li, Xiao Yang, Hongbo Chen, Mingyang Du, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) have become a well-established wastewater treatment technology owing to their extraordinary efficiency and low space advantage over conventional activated sludge processes. Although the extended activated sludge models can predict the general trend of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in MBRs, the simulation results usually deviate from the actual values. This review critically evaluates the recent advances in the modeling of N2O emissions in MBRs, and proposes future directions for the development and improvement of models that better match the MBR characteristics. The quantitative impact of MBR characteristics on N2O emissions is identified as a key knowledge gap demanding urgent attention. Accurately clarification of the N2O emission pathways governed by MBR characteristics is essential to improve the reliability and practicability of existing models. This article lays a momentous foundation for the optimization of N2O models in MBRs, and proposes new demands for the next-generation model. The contents will assist academics and engineers in developing N2O production models for accurate prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151394
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb 1


  • Extracellular polymeric substances
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Membrane bioreactors
  • Nitrous oxide emissions
  • Soluble microbial products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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