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A membrane bioreactor with iron dosing and acidogenic co-fermentation for enhanced phosphorus removal and recovery in wastewater treatment

Li, Ruo-hong, Wang, Xiao-mao, Li, Xiao-yan
Water research 2018 v.129 pp. 402-412
activated sludge, ceramics, fermentation, fermenters, ferric chloride, fertilizers, food waste, iron, membrane bioreactors, models, municipal wastewater, pH, phosphorus, rice, solubility, wastewater treatment
A novel phosphorous (P) removal and recovery process using a membrane bioreactor (MBR) with ferric iron dosing and acidogenic co-fermentation was developed for municipal wastewater treatment. The very different solubility of Fe(III)-P and Fe(II)-P complex and the microbial transformation of Fe(III) to Fe(II) were utilized for P removal and recovery. By means of Fe-induced precipitation, chemical P removal was effectively achieved by an MBR with a flat-plate ceramic membrane; however, the Fe(III)-P solids accumulated in the MBR that constituted a significant fraction of the activated sludge. Anaerobic co-fermentation of the MBR sludge and food waste in a side-stream allowed the extraction of P and Fe from the sludge into the supernatant. The P in the supernatant was recovered as a fertilizer resource, while the sludge was returned to the MBR tank. The experimental results show that by adding FeCl3 at 20 mg Fe/L into the influent of domestic wastewater, about 95.6% of total P could be removed by the MBR. One fifth (20%) of the sludge in the MBR was circulated daily through the side-stream fermenters for co-fermentation with cooked rice as the model food waste. The sludge underwent acidogenesis and dissimilatory iron reduction, resulting in a drop of the pH to below 5.0 and reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II). Owing to the high solubility of the Fe(II)-P complex, P and Fe were then dissolved and released from the sludge into the supernatant. By simply adjusting the solution pH to 8.0, the P and Fe(II) in the supernatant readily re-precipitated to form vivianite for the P recovery. Using the iron dosing MBR and side-stream sludge fermentation, an overall P recovery efficiency of 62.1% from wastewater influent can be achieved, and the problem of inorganic build-up in the MBR is effectively alleviated.