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Complete Removal of Total Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) in a Single Membrane Electro-Bioreactor

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The objective of this research was to study the feasibility of the removal of total nitrogen and phosphorus in a single submerged membrane electro-bioreactor (SMEBR). Aluminum anode and iron cathode were used in the SMEBR. A conventional membrane bioreactor (MBR) was operated in parallel as a control reactor. Both reactors were fed by synthetic wastewater. Three runs were made, each at different influent ammonium and total nitrogen concentrations. The SMEBR exhibited removal efficiencies of up to 97% for the P and TN. Phosphorus was removed through the formation of phosphate aluminum hydroxide complexes. N was removed through the simultaneous nitrification/denitrification that took place in the SMEBR. The simultaneous nitrification/denitrification conditions were created in the SMEBR by adjusting the level of dissolved oxygen and the electrical operating parameters (current density and electrical exposure mode) with the other operating conditions such as the MLSS, HRT and the organic loading. The results showed a 25% higher nitrification potential in the SMEBR than in the MBR. The outstanding outcomes of the SMEBR make it a feasible solution for building new facilities or retrofitting the old ones to remove nutrients effectively at low cost and small footprint.
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Keywords: Submerged membrane bioreactor (SMEBR); electro-bioreactor; membrane bioreactor (MBR); nitrogen removal; nutrient removal; phosphorus removal; simultaneous nitrification denitrification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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