Authors: Botti, Alberto; Pous, Narcís; Cheng, Hao-Yi; Colprim, Jesús; Zanaroli, Giulio; Puig, Sebastià

Electrifying secondary settlers to enhance nitrogen and pathogens removals

Economic options to retrofit wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) without tertiary treatments need to be explored. In this regard, bioelectrochemical systems (BES) can be hybridized with existing technologies, upgrading the removal performance of original techniques while avoiding replacement costs. Yet, few demonstrations of merged systems have been given. For the first time, in this work it was built a lab-scale model of a BES merged with a secondary settler, namely e-settler, to enhance the polishing performance of already existing WWTPs. In particular, to concomitantly increase nitrogen removal and perform wastewater (WW) disinfection, avoiding further tertiary treatments. In the e-settlers, nitrogen removal was increased through bioelectrochemical stimulation. Concomitant ammonium and nitrate removal without nitrite accumulation and a negligible amount of nitrous oxide emissions were observed. Ti-MMO as anode material showed a high disinfectant action. In conclusion, it was demonstrated how a simple bioelectrochemical set-up can upgrade existing WWTPs. The following step requires the study at a larger scale, identifying optimal operational and structural parameters for the in-situ application. The main limitations of the e-settlers were discussed, linking them to possible solutions that need to be deepened in a lab-scale model of conventional secondary treatments (activated sludge followed by secondary settler).

Authors:Botti, Alberto; Pous, Narcís; Cheng, Hao-Yi; Colprim, Jesús; Zanaroli, Giulio; Puig, Sebastià
Reference:Chemical Engineering Journal Open AccessVolume 4511 January 2023 Article number 138949