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Evaluation of Denatured Ethanol as an Alternative Carbon Source for Wastewater Denitrification

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In this study concerning denitrification, the performance of three carbon sources, methanol (MeOH), ethanol (EtOH) and gasoline-denatured ethanol (dEtOH), was compared and evaluated on the basis of treatment efficiency, inhibition potential and cost. The gasoline denaturant considered here contained little of the components that typically boost the octane rating, such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX). The experiment was conducted using three lab-scale SBRs operated at SRT of 12.0±0.9 days. Higher denitrification rates were obtained with dEtOH and EtOH (14.5±0.6 and 14.9±2.4 mg NO3-N/L·h, respectively) than with MeOH (8.9±0.9 mg NO3-N/L·h). BTEX did not affect biomass production, nitrification, or denitrification. Effluent soluble COD and BTEX concentrations were always less than the analytical detection limit. Although the cost of dEtOH (1.39/kg nitrate removed) was higher than that of methanol (1.03/kg nitrate removed), the use of dEtOH is very promising and utilities will have to decide if it is worth paying a little extra to take advantage of its benefits.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • 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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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