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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2018, Vol. 12 Issue (6) : 5
Nitrogen removal performance of municipal reverse osmosis concentrate with low C/N ratio by membrane-aerated biofilm reactor
Xiao Quan1,2,3,4, Kai Huang1,2,3,4, Mei Li1,2,3,4, Meichao Lan1,2,3,4, Baoan Li1,2,3,4()
1. Chemical Engineering Research Center, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
2. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
3. Tianjin Key Laboratory of Membrane Science and Desalination Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
4. Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering (Tianjin), Tianjin 300072, China
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MABR exhibits excellent TN removal performance for treating ROC with low C/N ratio.

Operating conditions should be properly controlled to achieve optimal TN removal.

Denitrifying bacteria and NOB are proved notably inhibited by high salinity stress.

The TN removal rate remains over 70% when the NaCl addition amount is below 20 g/L.

A membrane-aerated biofilm reactor was employed to investigate the nitrogen removal of one typical municipal reverse osmosis(RO) concentrate with a high total nitrogen (TN) concentration and a low C/N ratio. The effects of operational conditions, including the aeration pressure, the hydraulic retention time and the C/N ratio, on the systematic performance were evaluated. The nitrogen removal mechanism was evaluated by monitoring the effluent concentrations of nitrogen contents. Furthermore, the microbial tolerance with elevated salinity was identified. The results indicated that the optimal TN removal efficiency of 79.2% was achieved of the aeration pressure of 0.02 MPa, hydraulic retention time of 24 h, and the C/N ratio of 5.8, respectively. It is essential to supplement the carbon source for the targeted RO concentrate to promote the denitrification process. The inhibitory effect of salinity on denitrifying bacteria and nitrite oxidizing bacteria was significant, revealing the limited TN removal capacity of the conditions in this work. The TN removal efficiency remained more than 70% with the addition of salt (NaCl) amount below 20 g/L. This work preliminarily demonstrated the MABR feasibility for the nitrogen removal of municipal RO concentrate with low C/N ratio and provided technical guidance for further scale-up application.

Keywords Membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (MABR)      Salinity      Total nitrogen      Reverse osmosis concentrate     
Corresponding Authors: Baoan Li   
Issue Date: 19 August 2018
 Cite this article:   
Xiao Quan,Kai Huang,Mei Li, et al. Nitrogen removal performance of municipal reverse osmosis concentrate with low C/N ratio by membrane-aerated biofilm reactor[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(6): 5.
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Xiao Quan
Kai Huang
Mei Li
Meichao Lan
Baoan Li
Fig.1  Experimental set-up diagram of the MABR system
Parameter CODcr TN NH4+-N NO3-N NO2-N BOD Conductivity TDS TP pH
Value 80–90 74–76 0.054 7.2 0.190 20–22 10.16 5.5 23.5 7.9
Unit mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mg/L mS/cm g/L mg/L
Tab.1  Characteristics of the RO concentrate
Fig.2  Variation of effluent concentrations of CODcr and NH4+-N during the acclimation period
Fig.3  (a) Variations of the effluent COD concentration and removal efficiency during the RO concentrate acclimation period. (b) Variations of the effluent TN concentration and removal efficiency during the RO concentrate acclimation period
Fig.4  Effects of HRT on the performance of MABR: (a)TN concentration in effluent under different HRTs; (b)NO3-N concentration in effluent under different HRTs; (c) NH4+-N concentration in effluent under different HRTs
Fig.5  Effects of aeration pressure on the performance of the MABR: (a) TN concentration in effluent at different aeration pressures; (b) NO3-N concentration in effluent at different aeration pressures; (c) NH4+-N concentration in effluent at different aeration pressures; (d) DO concentration in the bulk liquid at different aeration pressures
Fig.6  Effects of C/N ratio on the performance of MABR: (a) TN concentration in effluent at different C/N ratios; (b) NO3-N concentration in effluent at different C/N ratios; (c) NH4+-N concentration in effluent at different C/N ratios; (d) NO2-N concentration in the bulk liquid at different C/N ratios; (e) COD concentration at different C/N ratios
Fig.7  (a) Changes of TN concentration in the effluent and removal efficiency at different times. (b) The effluent concentrations of NO3-N, NO2-N and NH4+-N at different times. (c) Changes of COD concentration in the effluent and removal efficiency at different times. (d) Changes of DO concentration in MABR at different times
Fig.8  (a)The concentrations of NO3--N, NO2--N, NH4+-N in effluent at different salinity. (b) The TN concentration in effluent at different salinity. (c) The COD concentration in effluent at different salinity
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