Fine Bubble vs Surface Aerator

Aeration systems are key to the success of any biological process.  They consume the most energy of any part of an aerobic process and the potential energy savings warrants close attention to design, maintenance, and initial cost details.  We have seen – over & over – the economic and performance benefits of a fine bubble system vs. one using surface aerators (or even coarse bubble).   Our field experience is also supported by studies done by UCLA’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Department and the EPA.

Economic Advantages

Performance Advantages

Cost of Goods Reduction & Expense Savings

  • COST OF OXYGEN / LBS: Fine bubble is roughly 1/3 the cost
  • ENERGY COSTS: Fine bubble systems can be 50% the cost of surface aerator systems
  • TOTAL OPERATING COSTS: Surface aerator systems can be 4-5x higher
  • 10-year COST OF GOODS NET REDUCTION: Can easily be $1MM+
  • Key aspect of any design is its practicality and workability.
  • Fine pore diffusers are the most efficient way of aerating wastewater.
  • Surface aerators and coarse bubble diffusers are much less efficient – expect to use up to twice the energy of fine pore diffusers

Surface Vs Fine Bubble UCLA Report

Report on Surface vs Fine Bubble

Contributing Source:  UCLA Civil  and Environmental Engineering Department

View Report

2015 Mainsail Global: SA vs. FB Projects

(Auto & Manual Pre-treatment)

Annual Operation


10yr Cost of Goods Reduction

Capital Investment

Payback Period (years)









FB (Auto)

FB (Man)


Fine (Auto)

Fine (Man)

Fine (Auto)

Fine (Man)

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