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Achieving energy-efficient nitrogen removal and excess sludge reutilization by partial nitritation and simultaneous anammox denitrification and sludge fermentation process

Wang, Bo, Guo, Yuanyuan, Zhao, Mengyue, Li, Baikun, Peng, Yongzhen
Chemosphere 2019 v.218 pp. 705-714
activated sludge, aeration, ambient temperature, ammonia, anaerobic ammonium oxidation, bacteria, denitrification, energy conservation, energy efficiency, fermentation, nitrites, nitrogen, nutrients, solubilization, wastewater treatment
Energy savings via achieving the reduction of aeration and excess sludge is required to realize energy self-sufficiency in wastewater treatment plants. A novel partial nitritation + simultaneous anammox denitrification and sludge fermentation (PN + SADF) process was operated for nearly two years, during which simultaneous energy-efficient nitrogen removal and waste activated sludge (WAS) reduction was achieved, with a stable nitrogen removal efficiency of 80% and external WAS reduction of 40%–50%. In the PN reactor, presence of ammonia oxidizing bacteria and absence of nitrite oxidizing bacteria ensured the stable nitritation. In the SADF reactor, nitrogen was removed via denitrification and anammox by using nutrients and organics released from WAS solubilization. Comparable performance of the SADF reactor at ambient temperature (12–32 °C) to that at 30 °C indicated a practical application potential for the PN + SADF process. An initial estimation of a full-scale PN + SADF process serving a population of 100000 showed that it could save economy and energy in comparison with conventional nitrification-denitrification process. Despite some challenges in implementation, this paper highlights the potential implication for sustaining mainstream nitritation-anammox towards energy-efficient operation with excess sludge reutilization.