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Improved Computational Model (AQUIFAS) for Activated Sludge, Integrated Fixed-Film Activated Sludge, and Moving-Bed Biofilm Reactor Systems, Part II: Multilayer Biofilm Diffusional Model

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Research was undertaken to develop a diffusional model of the biofilm that can be applied in lieu of a semi-empirical model to upgrade an activated sludge system to an integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS) or moving-bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) system. The model has been developed to operate with up to 12 cells (reactors) in series, with biofilm media incorporated to one or more of the zone cells, except the anaerobic zone cells.

The values of the kinetic parameters for the model were measured using pilot-scale activated sludge, IFAS, and MBBR systems. The biofilm is divided into 12 layers and has a stagnant liquid layer. Diffusion and substrate utilization are calculated for each layer. The equations are solved simultaneously using a finite difference technique. The biofilm flux model is then linked to the activated sludge model. Advanced features include the ability to compute the biofilm thickness and the effect of biofilm thickness on performance. The biofilm diffusional model is also used to provide information and create a table of biofilm yields at different substrate concentrations that can be used in the semi-empirical model.

Keywords: AQUIFAS; activated sludge; biofilm; dynamic simulation; integrated fixed-film activated sludge; model development; modeling; moving-bed biofilm reactor

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2008

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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