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Evaluating the Cost and Process Performance of Carbon Alternatives to Methanol

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The objectives of this paper are to (1) determine whether the alternative carbon donors tested at four biological nutrient removal (BNR) wastewater treatment plants in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are effective sources of carbon for denitrification at wastewater treatment plants, and (2) determine which carbon donors are the most competitive with methanol from both a process/operational and relative cost perspective.

The results of these investigations indicate that glycerin and corn syrup effectively reduce effluent nitrate as compared with methanol and/or a control (endogenous respiration rate). Fullscale experience with these products also underscores the need for complete nitrification upstream of the post-anoxic zone and proper management of dissolved oxygen in the zone upstream of the carbon addition point.

A variety of carbon alternatives were also evaluated on a dollar per pound of nitrate-N removed basis. The results of these investigations indicate that glycerin and ethanol compounds are costcompetitive alternatives to methanol. With regard to a flexible design standard, stainless steel (304) storage tanks and piping are compatible with methanol, ethanol, MicroC, glycerin, and corn syrup. However, other materials can be selected that reduce the cost and flexibility of the facility.
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Keywords: Alternative Carbon; Corn Syrup; Denitrification; Glycerin; Glycerol; Methanol

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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