Aug 2018, Volume 12 Issue 4

Cover illustration

  • Wastewater contains many valuable resources such as energy, nutrient, and water, and recovery of those resources will make wastewater management more sustainable. In recent years, there has been a trend to transform the theme of wastewater management from “treatment” to “recovery”. Development of new technologies will help accomplish resource recovery from wastewater. Among the newly developed technologies, bioelectrochemical systems have attracted a great amount of attention [Detail] ...

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    Aijie Wang, David Stuckey
    Kishore Gopalakrishnan, Javad Roostaei, Yongli Zhang

    RSM is used to explore the impact of different parameter on algal growth response.

    Mixed algal culture promotes algal biomass and lipid accumulation.

    Optimized conditions achieve maximum productivity of algal biomass and lipid.

    The purpose of this work is to study the co-cultivation of Chlorella sp. and wastewater wild algae under different cultivation conditions (i.e. CO2, light intensity, cultivation time, and inoculation ratio) for enhanced algal biomass and lipid productivity in wastewater medium using Response Surface Methodology (RSM). The results show that mixed cultures of Chlorella sp. and wastewater wild algae increase biomass and lipid yield. Additionally, findings indicate that CO2, light intensity and cultivation time significantly affect algal productivity. Furthermore, CO2 concentration and light intensity, and CO2 concentration and algal composition, have an interactive effect on biomass productivity. Under different cultivation conditions, the response of algal biomass, cell count, and lipid productivity ranges from 2.5 to 10.2 mg/mL, 1.1 × 106 to 8.2 × 108 cells/mL, and 1.1 × 1012 to 6.8 × 1012 total fluorescent units/mL, respectively. The optimum conditions for simultaneous biomass and lipid accumulation are 3.6% of CO2 (v/v), 160 µmol/m2/s of light intensity, 1.6/2.4 of inoculation ratio (wastewater-algae/Chlorella), and 8.3 days of cultivation time. The optimal productivity is 9.8 (g/L) for dry biomass, 8.6 E+ 08 (cells/mL) for cell count, and 6.8 E+ 12 (Total FL units per mL) for lipid yield, achieving up to four times, eight times, and seven times higher productivity compared to non-optimized conditions. Provided is a supportive methodology to improve mixed algal culture for bioenergy feedstock generation and to optimize cultivation conditions in complex wastewater environments. This work is an important step forward in the development of sustainable large-scale algae cultivation for cost-efficient generation of biofuel.

    Zechong Guo, Lei Gao, Ling Wang, Wenzong Liu, Aijie Wang

    Methane yield increased 22 times from low-strength wastewater by applying conductive fillers.

    Conductive fillers accelerated the start-up stage of anaerobic biofilm reactor.

    Conductive fillers altered methanogens structure.

    Methane production from low-strength wastewater (LSWW) is generally difficult because of the low metabolism rate of methanogens. Here, an up-flow biofilm reactor equipped with conductive granular graphite (GG) as fillers was developed to enhance direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET) between syntrophic electroactive bacteria and methanogens to stimulate methanogenesis process. Compared to quartz sand fillers, using conductive fillers significantly enhanced methane production and accelerated the start-up stage of biofilm reactor. At HRT of 6 h, the average methane production rate and methane yield of reactor with GG were 0.106 m3/(m3.d) and 74.5 L/kg COD, which increased by 34.3 times and 22.4 times respectively compared with the reactor with common quartz sand fillers. The microbial community analysis revealed that methanogens structure was significantly altered and the archaea that are involved in DIET (such as Methanobacterium) were enriched in GG filler. The beneficial effects of conductive fillers on methane production implied a practical strategy for efficient methane recovery from LSWW.

    Mothe Gopi Kiran, Kannan Pakshirajan, Gopal Das

    An-RBC reactor is highly suited to treat metallic wastewater.

    Metal removal is due to sulfide precipitation via sulfate reduction by SRB.

    Cu(II) removal was the best among the different heavy metals.

    Maximum metal removal is achieved at low metal loading condition.

    Metal removal matched well with the solubility product values of respective metal sulfide salts.

    This study was aimed at investigating the performance of anaerobic rotating biological contactor reactor treating synthetic wastewater containing a mixture of heavy metals under sulfate reducing condition. Statistically valid factorial design of experiments was carried out to understand the dynamics of metal removal using this bioreactor system. Copper removal was maximum (>98%), followed by other heavy metals at their respective low inlet concentrations. Metal loading rates less than 3.7 mg/L?h in case of Cu(II); less than 1.69 mg/L?h for Ni(II), Pb(II), Zn(II), Fe(III) and Cd(II) are favorable to the performance of the An-RBC reactor. Removal efficiency of the heavy metals from mixture depended on the metal species and their inlet loading concentrations. Analysis of metal precipitates formed in the sulfidogenic bioreactor by field emission scanning electron microscopy along with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (FESEM-EDX) confirmed metal sulfide precipitation by SRB. All these results clearly revealed that the attached growth biofilm bioreactor is well suited for heavy metal removal from complex mixture.

    Yan-Shan Wang, Dao-Bo Li, Feng Zhang, Zhong-Hua Tong, Han-Qing Yu

    Algal biochar anode produced higher biocurrent compared with graphite plate anode.

    Algal biochar exhibited stronger electrochemical response to redox mediators.

    Algal biochar showed excellent adsorption to redox mediators.

    The development of cost-effective and highly efficient anode materials for extracellular electron uptake is important to improve the electricity generation of bioelectrochemical systems. An effective approach to mitigate harmful algal bloom (HAB) is mechanical harvesting of algal biomass, thus subsequent processing for the collected algal biomass is desired. In this study, a low-cost biochar derived from algal biomass via pyrolysis was utilized as an anode material for efficient electron uptake. Electrochemical properties of the algal biochar and graphite plate electrodes were characterized in a bioelectrochemical system (BES). Compared with graphite plate electrode, the algal biochar electrode could effectively utilize both indirect and direct electron transfer pathways for current production, and showed stronger electrochemical response and better adsorption of redox mediators. The maximum current density of algal biochar anode was about 4.1 times higher than graphite plate anode in BES. This work provides an application potential for collected HAB to develop a cost-effective anode material for efficient extracellular electron uptake in BES and to achieve waste resource utilization.

    Yujiao Sun, Juanjuan Zhao, Lili Chen, Yueqiao Liu, Jiane Zuo

    • UASB with SMD granules was operated with high removal efficiency of COD and NO3--N.

    Methanosaetaceae was absolute predominant methanogen in SMD granules.

    • The methanogen quantity and activity decreased as C/N decreased from 20:1 to 5:1.

    • Bacterial community succession happened with C/N decreasing.

    A laboratory scale up-flow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) bioreactor fed with synthetic wastewater was operated with simultaneous methanogenesis and denitrification (SMD) granules for 235 days with a gradient decrease of C/N. Molecular cloning, qRT-PCR and T-RFLP were applied to study the methanogenic community structures in SMD granules and their changes in response to changing influent C/N. The results indicate that when C/N was 20:1, the methane production rate was fastest, and Methanosaetaceae and Methanobacteriaceae were the primary methanogens within the Archaea. The richness and evenness of methanogenic bacteria was best with the highest T-RFLP diversity index of 1.627 in the six granular sludge samples. When C/N was reduced from 20:1 to 5:1, the methanogenic activity of SMD granules decreased gradually, and the relative quantities of methanogens decreased from 36.5% to 10.9%. The abundance of Methanosaetaceae in Archaea increased from 64.5% to 84.2%, while that of Methanobacteriaceae decreased from 18.6% to 11.8%, and the richness and evenness of methanogens decreased along with the T-RFLP diversity index to 1.155, suggesting that the community structure reflected the succession to an unstable condition represented by high nitrate concentrations.

    Xiangyu Wang, Weitao Lian, Xin Sun, Jun Ma, Ping Ning

    Novel method for polydopamine (PDA) modified biochar (BC) with immobilized NZVI.

    PDA/NZVI@BC exhibits significantly enhanced activity for tetracycline (TC) removal.

    TC removal efficiency was increased by 55.9% compared with that of pristine NZVI.

    The mechanism of tetracycline removal by PDA/NZVI@BC was proposed.

    Polydopamine/NZVI@biochar composite (PDA/NZVI@BC) with high removal efficiency of tetracycline (TC) in aqueous solutions was successfully synthesized. The resultant composite demonstrated high reactivity, excellent stability and reusability over the reaction course. Such excellent performance can be attributed to the presence of the huge surface area on biochar (BC), which could enhance NZVI dispersion and prolong its longevity. The carbonyl group contained on the surface of biochar could combine with the amino group on polydopamine(PDA). The hydroxyl groups in PDA is able to enhance the dispersion and loading of NZVI on BC. Being modified by PDA, the hydrophilicity of biochar was improved. Among BC, pristine NZVI and PDA/NZVI@BC, PDA/NZVI@BC exhibited the highest activity for removal of TC. Compared with NZVI, the removal efficiency of TC could be increased by 55.9% by using PDA/NZVI@BC under the same conditions. The optimal modification time of PDA was 8h, and the ratio of NZVI to BC was 1:2. In addition, the possible degradation mechanism of TC was proposed, which was based on the analysis of degraded products by LC-MS. Different important factors impacting on TC removal (including mass ratio of NZVI to BC/PDA, initial concentration, pH value and the initial temperature of the solution) were investigated as well. Overall, this study provides a promising alternative material and environmental pollution management option for antibiotic wastewater treatment.

    V. Edwin Geo, Ankit Sonthalia, Fethi Aloui, Femilda Josephin J. S.

    To derive liquid fuel from waste engine oil and plastics thorough pyrolysis process

    To make equal blend of waste engine oil and plastics with diesel fuel

    To find the suitability of fuel from waste in diesel engine through performance, emission and combustion characteristics

    Utilizing oil extracted from waste engine oil and waste plastics, by pyrolysis, as a fuel for internal combustion engines has been demonstrated to be one of the best available waste management methods. Separate blends of fuel from waste engine oil and waste plastic oil was prepared by mixing with diesel and experimental investigation is conducted to study engine performance, combustion and exhaust emissions. It is observed that carbon monoxide (CO) emission increases by 50% for 50% waste plastic oil (50WPO:50D) and by 58% for 50% waste engine oil (50WEO:50D) at full load as compared to diesel. Unburnt hydrocarbon (HC) emission increases by 16% for 50WPO:50D and by 32% for 50WEO:50D as compared to diesel at maximum load. Smoke is found to decrease at all loading conditions for 50WPO:50D operation, but it is comparatively higher for 50WEO:50D operation. 50WPO:50D operation shows higher brake thermal efficiency for all loads as compared to 50WEO:50D and diesel fuel operation. Exhaust gas temperature is higher at all loads for 50WPO:50D and 50WEO:50D as compared to diesel fuel operation.

    Xia Hou, Liping Huang, Peng Zhou, Hua Xue, Ning Li

    Cell membrane of indigenous Cd-tolerant EAB harbored more cadmium than chromium.

    Indigenous Cd-tolerant EAB cytoplasm located more chromium than cadmium.

    Simultaneously quantitatively imaging Cd(II) and Cr(III) ions in EAB was achieved.

    Current accelerated the harboring of cadmium in EAB at an initial 2 h.

    Current directed the accumulation of more chromium in EAB over time.

    Electrochemically active bacteria (EAB) on the cathodes of microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) can remove metals from the catholyte, but the response of these indigenous EAB toward exotic metals has not been examined, particularly from the perspective of the co-presence of Cd(II) and Cr(VI) in a wastewater. Four known indigenous Cd-tolerant EAB of Ochrobactrum sp X1, Pseudomonas sp X3, Pseudomonas delhiensis X5, and Ochrobactrum anthropi X7 removed more Cd(II) and less Cr(VI) in the simultaneous presence of Cd(II) and Cr(VI), compared to the controls with individual Cd(II) or single Cr(VI). Response of these EAB toward exotic Cr(VI) was related to the associated subcellular metal distribution based on the sensing of fluorescence probes. EAB cell membrane harbored more cadmium than chromium and cytoplasm located more chromium than cadmium, among which the imaging of intracelluler Cr(III) ions increased over time, contrary to the decreased trend for Cd(II) ions. Compared to the controls with single Cd(II), exotic Cr(VI) decreased the imaging of Cd(II) ions in the EAB at an initial 2 h and negligibly affected thereafter. However, Cd(II) diminished the imaging of Cr(III) ions in the EAB over time, compared to the controls with individual Cr(VI). Current accelerated the harboring of cadmium at an initial 2 h and directed the accumulation of chromium in EAB over time. This study provides a viable approach for simultaneously quantitatively imaging Cd(II) and Cr(III) ions in EAB and thus gives valuable insights into the response of indigenous Cd-tolerant EAB toward exotic Cr(VI) in MECs.

    Xu Zhang, Huanhuan Yang, Xinlei Wang, Wen Song, Zhaojie Cui

    SFE-GC system is established for flavonols assessment.

    Optimal parameters of SFE-GC are evaluated and determined.

    Quercetin and kaempferol are detected in plant under heavy metal stress.

    Gene expression analysis shows consistent regularity with content of flavonols.

    ROS level is applied for elaborating the plant resistance status.

    In this research, supercritical carbon dioxide extraction (SFE) showed better extraction effect when compared with Solid- liquid extraction (SLE), Soxhlet extraction (SE) and Ultrasonic extraction (UE), not only in the rate but also the time. The comparison among these three extraction modifiers, including acetone, ethanol and methanol demonstrated that ethanol was preferred to SFE due to its high extraction effect and low toxicology. In addition, parameter of SFE, influence of temperature and pressure were investigated, and the best extraction effect was achieved at the optima conditions, temperature of 40°C and the pressure of 35 Mpa. Thus, SFE is a highly effective method for flavonols extraction, requiring minimum energy and producing non-toxic byproduct. SFE-GC system is applied for the evaluation on flavonols that plays a key role in plant resistance to heavy metal, with its content and synthetase gene expression significantly increasing in plant when threatened by heavy metal. Besides, results indicated that flavonols can improve plant resistance to oxidative stress by quenching the redundant ROS in matrix.

    Yuqin Lu, Xiao Bian, Hailong Wang, Xinhua Wang, Yueping Ren, Xiufen Li

    OsMFC can simultaneously recover electricity and water from wastewater.

    Membrane fouling played an important role in flux decline of FO membrane in OsMFCs.

    Biofouling was the major fouling of the FO membrane in OsMFCs.

    The growth of biofouling layer on the FO membrane can be divided into three stages.

    Microorganisms were the dominant biofoulant in the biofouling layer.

    Since the concept of the osmotic microbial fuel cell (OsMFC) was introduced in 2011, it has attracted growing interests for its potential applications in wastewater treatment and energy recovery. However, forward osmosis (FO) membrane fouling resulting in a severe water flux decline remains a main obstacle. Until now, the fouling mechanisms of FO membrane especially the development of biofouling layer in the OsMFC are not yet clear. Here, the fouling behavior of FO membrane in OsMFCs was systematically investigated. The results indicated that a thick fouling layer including biofouling and inorganic fouling was existed on the FO membrane surface. Compared to the inorganic fouling, the biofouling played a more important role in the development of the fouling layer. Further analyses by the confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) implied that the growth of biofouling layer on the FO membrane surface in the OsMFC could be divided into three stages. Initially, microorganisms associated with b-D-glucopyranose polysaccharides were deposited on the FO membrane surface. After that, the microorganisms grew into a biofilm caused a quick decrease of water flux. Subsequently, some of microorganisms were dead due to lack of nutrient source, in the meantime, polysaccharide and proteins in the biofouling layer were decomposed as nutrient source, thus leading to a slow development of the biofouling layer. Moreover, the microorganisms played a significant role in the formation and development of the biofouling layer, and further studies are needed to mitigate the deposition of microorganisms on FO membrane surfaces in OsMFCs.

    Liguo Zhang, Qiaoying Ban, Jianzheng Li

    High strength sugar refinery wastewater was treated in a mesophilic UASB.

    Pyrosequencing reveals microbial community succession with OLR increase.

    Diversity of microbial communities in OLR12 is much higher than those in OLR36 and OLR54.0 kgCOD/(kg VSS·d).

    Fermentative bacteria could deal with increasing OLR through the increase of microbial diversity and quantity.

    Hydrogen-producing acotogens and methanogens mainly coped with high OLR shocks by increasing the quantity of community

    The performance and microbial community structure in an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASB) treating sugar refinery wastewater were investigated. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal reached above 92.0% at organic loading rates (OLRs) of 12.0–54.0 kgCOD/(m3·d). The volatile fatty acids (VFAs) in effluent were increased to 451.1 mg/L from 147.9 mg/L and the specific methane production rate improved by 1.2–2.2-fold as the OLR increased. The evolution of microbial communities in anaerobic sludge at three different OLRs was investigated using pyrosequencing. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at a 3% distance were 353, 337 and 233 for OLR12, OLR36 and OLR54, respectively. When the OLR was increased to 54.0 kgCOD /(m3·d) from 12.0 kgCOD/(m3·d) by stepwise, the microbial community structure were changed significantly. Five genera (Bacteroides, Trichococcus, Chryseobacterium, Longilinea and Aerococcus) were the dominant fermentative bacteria at the OLR 12.0 kgCOD/(m3·d). However, the sample of OLR36 was dominated by Lactococcus, Trichococcus, Anaeroarcus and Veillonella. At the last stage (OLR= 54.0 kgCOD/(m3·d)), the diversity and percentage of fermentative bacteria were markedly increased. Apart from fermentative bacteria, an obvious shift was observed in hydrogen-producing acetogens and non-acetotrophic methanogens as OLR increased. Syntrophobacter, Geobacter and Methanomethylovorans were the dominant hydrogen-producing acetogens and methylotrophic methanogens in the samples of OLR12 and OLR36. When the OLR was increased to 54.0 kgCOD/(m3·d), the main hydrogen-producing acetogens and hydrogenotrophic methanogens were substituted with Desulfovibrio and Methanospirillum. However, the composition of acetotrophic methanogens (Methanosaeta) was relatively stable during the whole operation period of the UASB reactor.

    Lin Lin, Ying-yu Li, Xiao-yan Li

    CEPS sludge was compared with conventional primary and secondary sludge for the VFAs yield.

    Fe-based CEPS sludge exhibited the highest efficiency of organic recovery.

    Fermented CEPS sludge liquor provided a sufficient carbon source for denitrification.

    99% of nitrate removal was achieved based on the Fe-CEPS and sludge fermentation.

    For biological nitrogen (N) removal from wastewater, a sufficient organic carbon source is requested for denitrification. However, the organic carbon/nitrogen ratio in municipal wastewater is becoming lower in recent years, which increases the demand for the addition of external organic carbon, e.g. methanol, in wastewater treatment. The volatile fatty acids (VFAs) produced by acidogenic fermentation of sewage sludge can be an attractive alternative for methanol. Chemically enhanced primary sedimentation (CEPS) is an effective process that applies chemical coagulants to enhance the removal of organic pollutants and phosphorus from wastewater by sedimentation. In terms of the chemical and biological characteristics, the CEPS sludge is considerably different from the conventional primary and secondary sludge. In the present study, FeCl3 and PACl (polyaluminum chloride) were used as the coagulants for CEPS treatment of raw sewage. The derived CEPS sludge (Fe-sludge and Al-sludge) was then processed with mesophilic acidogenic fermentation to hydrolyse the solid organics and produce VFAs for organic carbon recovery, and the sludge acidogenesis efficiency was compared with that of the conventional primary sludge and secondary sludge. The results showed that the Fe-sludge exhibited the highest hydrolysis and acidogenesis efficiency, while the Al-sludge and secondary sludge had lower hydrolysis efficiency than that of primary sludge. Utilizing the Fe-sludge fermentation liquid as the carbon source for denitrification, more than 99% of nitrate removal was achieved in the main-stream wastewater treatment without any external carbon addition, instead of 35% obtained from the conventional process of primary sedimentation followed by the oxic/anoxic (O/A) treatment.

    Kit Wayne Chew, Pau Loke Show, Yee Jiun Yap, Joon Ching Juan, Siew Moi Phang, Tau Chuan Ling, Jo-Shu Chang

    Effects of sonication and grinding pretreatment on agarose quality were observed.

    Successful agarose extraction with direct PEG method without the need to dry agar.

    FTIR spectra and the characteristics peaks in agarose are explained.

    Improvements in gel strength and sulfate content properties in agarose samples.

    Various pretreatments methods including sonication and grinding were performed on red seaweed Gelidium amansii for the subsequent extraction of agarose. The agarose products are usually extracted from agar powder products from seaweeds. In this study, the agarose was extracted using a direct polyethylene glycol (PEG) method without the need to first process the agar from seaweed. The agar extract was frozen then thawed and mixed directly with PEG solution to precipitate the agarose. The quality of agarose obtained was evaluated through physico-chemical properties analysis which includes spectral technique (FTIR), melting and boiling point, gel strength and sulfate content. These properties were compared with a non-pretreated sample and it was found that the addition of pretreatment steps improved the quality of agarose but gave a slightly lower yield. The gel strength of pretreated samples was much higher and the sulfate content was lower compared to non-pretreated samples. The best pretreatment method was sonication which gave gel strength of 742 g cm2 and sulfate content of 0.63%. The extraction of agarose can be further improved with the use of different neutralizing agents. Pretreating the seaweed shows potential in improving the quality of agarose from seaweed and can be applied for future extraction of the agarose.

    Akshay Jain, Zhen He

    Resource recovery from wastewater is a key function of bioelectrochemical systems.

    NEW resources to recover include Nutrient, Energy, and Water.

    Identifying proper application niches can guide BES research and development.

    More efforts should be invested to the application of recovered resources.

    A mindset for energy performance and system scaling is critically important.

    Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) have been extensively studied for resource recovery from wastewater. By taking advantage of interactions between microorganisms and electrodes, BES can accomplish wastewater treatment while simultaneously recovering various resources including nutrients, energy and water (“NEW”). Despite much progress in laboratory studies, BES have not been advanced to practical applications. This paper aims to provide some subjective opinions and a concise discussion of several key challenges in BES-based resource recovery and help identify the potential application niches that may guide further technological development. In addition to further increasing recovery efficiency, it is also important to have more focus on the applications of the recovered resources such as how to use the harvested electricity and gaseous energy and how to separate the recovered nutrients in an energy-efficient way. A change in mindset for energy performance of BES is necessary to understand overall energy production and consumption. Scaling up BES can go through laboratory scale, transitional scale, and then pilot scale. Using functions as driving forces for BES research and development will better guide the investment of efforts.