The possibility of using membrane bioreactors (MBRs) in simultaneous nitrification-anammox-denitrification (SNAD) by considering periodic aeration cycles was investigated. Two separate reactors were operated to investigate the effect of different anammox biomass in the presence of nitrifying and denitrifying biomass on the final nitrogen removal efficiency. The results illustrated that the reactor with higher anammox biomass was more robust to oxygen cycling. Around 98% Total Nitrogen (TN) and 83% Total Organic Carbon (TOC) removal efficiencies were observed by applying one hour aeration over a four-hour cycle. Decreasing the aeration time to 30, 15, and 2 min during a four-hour cycle affected the final TN removal efficiencies. However, the effect of decreasing aeration on the TN removal efficiencies in the reactor with higher anammox biomass was much lower compared to the regular reactor. The nitrous oxide (N2O) emission was a function of aeration as well, and was lower in the reactor with higher anammox biomass. The results of q-PCR analysis confirmed the simultaneous co-existence of nitrifiers, anammox, and denitrifiers in both of the reactors. To simulate the TN removal in these reactors as a function of the aeration time, a new model, based on first order reaction kinetics for both denitrification and anammox was developed and yielded a good agreement with the experimental observations.
- kinetic modeling