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Shortcut Biological Nitrogen Removal (SBNR) in an MFC Anode Chamber under Microaerobic Conditions: The Effect of C/N Ratio and Kinetic Study

Department of Chemical Engineering Materials & Environment, Sapienza University of Rome, Via Eudossiana 18, 00184 Rome, Italy
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Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041062
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
In this work, the feasibility of the Shortcut Biological Nitrogen Removal (SBNR) in the anodic chamber of a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) was investigated. Thirty day experiments were carried out using synthetic wastewaters with a Total Organic Carbon vs. nitrogen ratio (TOC/N) ranging from 0.1 to 1. Ammonium, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and TOC were daily monitored. Results showed that microaerobic conditions in the anodic chamber favored the development of nitritation reaction, due to oxygen transfer from the cathodic chamber through the membrane. Nitritation was found to depend on TOC/N ratio: at TOC/N equal to 0.1 an ammonium removal efficiency of up to 76% was observed. Once the oxygen supply to the cathodic chamber was stopped, denitritation occurred, favored by an increase of the TOC/N ratio: a nitrite removal of 80.3% was achieved at TOC/N equal to 0.75. The presence of nitrogen species strongly affected the potential of the electrochemical system: in the nitritation step, the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) decreased from 180 mV to 21 mV with the decrease of the TOC/N ratio in the investigated range. Lower OCV values were observed in the denitritation steps since the organic carbon acted as the energy source for the conversion of nitrite to nitrogen gas. A kinetic analysis was also performed. Monod and Blackman models described the ammonium and the organic carbon removal processes well during the nitritation step, respectively, while Blackman-Blackman fitted experimental results of the denitritation step better. View Full-Text
Keywords: Microbial Fuel Cell; nitritation; denitritation; nitrite accumulation; nitrogen removal; kinetic model Microbial Fuel Cell; nitritation; denitritation; nitrite accumulation; nitrogen removal; kinetic model
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Bavasso, I.; Montanaro, D.; Petrucci, E.; Di Palma, L. Shortcut Biological Nitrogen Removal (SBNR) in an MFC Anode Chamber under Microaerobic Conditions: The Effect of C/N Ratio and Kinetic Study. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1062.

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