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The increasing use of membrane-aerated biofilm reactors in wastewater treatment necessitates more accurate understanding of their oxygen transfer capabilities for design and operation purposes. The oxygen mass transfer in a hollow-fiber membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (HFMBR) was evaluated
using conventional clean water testing, and results were compared to performance data and oxygen microsensor profiles when an active nitrifying biofilm was present on the fibers. Using a flow-through configuration (as opposed to sealed end fibers), conventional mass transfer testing predicted
oxygen transfer efficiencies between 6% and 40%, depending on air flow rate through the fibers and lumen pressure. The mass transfer coefficient (average = 2.8 x10−4 cm/sec) was found to be largely independent of air flow rate but had a slight positive correlation with lumen
pressure (correlation coefficient = 0.5), possibly due to radial deflection of the siloxane fibers. With an active nitrifying biofilm (predominantly nitritation), significantly higher oxygen transfer efficiencies were observed, between 40% and 62%, as measured by outlet gas oxygen concentration,
ammonia consumption stoichiometry, and oxidized nitrogen production stoichiometry, all of which were in reasonable agreement. Oxygen microsensor profiles in active biofilm and on bare fibers suggest that one reason for this discrepancy is the reduced surface dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration
at the membrane-biofilm interface. Bulk liquid DO measurements lead to an overestimation of the mass transfer driving force and, as a result, an underestimation of the mass transfer coefficient (KOL). These results demonstrate substantial limitations when applying conventional oxygen
transfer testing methods (based on bulk liquid DO concentration) to design of membrane-aerated biofilm reactors.
Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed. WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.