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Evaluation of Sulfide-driven Autotrophic Denitrification in a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor

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While the application of alternative substrates in suspended growth processes has been studied extensively, fixed film post denitrification processes have been designed to use primarily low yield substrates like methanol. Autotrophic denitrification using reduced sulfur compounds could be a low yield alternative to conventional heterotrophic denitrification to polish effluent nitrate. Three lab-scale MBBRs (using sulfide, methanol and ethanol as electron donor sources) were operated continuously at 12°C. The performance of each reactor was monitored by weekly sampling and batch rate profile testing. Sulfide visually exhibited biofilm carrier biomass content similar to or slightly less than that of methanol, yet provided increased removal rates (1.1±0.5 versus 0.6±0.3 g NOX-N/m2/day, respectively.) SDNR profile testing also suggested that maximum NOx-N removal rates for sulfide (1.8 g NOx-N/m2/day) were more than three times that of methanol (0.57 g NOx-N/m2/day.) Although the sulfide reactor produced the highest removal rates, significant uncertainties must be addressed prior to full-scale implementation.
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Keywords: Autotrophic denitrification; MBBR; electron donor; ethanol; external carbon; methanol; sulfide

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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