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Nitrifying moving bed biofilm reactor: Performance at low temperatures and response to cold-shock

Ahmed, Warsama, Tian, Xin, Delatolla, Robert
Chemosphere 2019 v.229 pp. 295-302
exposure duration, models, moving bed biofilm reactors, nitrification, temperature
In contrast with suspended growth systems, attached growth technologies such as the moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBR) have recently demonstrated significant nitrification rates at temperatures as low as 1 °C. The purpose of this study was to investigate the performance of the nitrifying MBBR system at elevated municipal concentrations with exposures to low temperatures and cold-shock conditions down to 1 °C using an enhanced temperature-controlled room. A removal rate of 98.44 ± 4.69 gN·m−3·d−1 was identified as the intrinsic rate of nitrifying MBBR systems at 1 °C and was proposed as the conservative rate for low temperature design. A temperature threshold at which attached growth nitrification displayed a significant decrease in kinetics was identified between 2 °C and 4 °C. Arrhenius correction coefficients of 1.086 and 1.09 previously applied for low temperature nitrifying MBBR systems resulted in conservative modeled removal rates on average 21% lower than the measured rates. Thus, an Arrhenius correction coefficient of 1.049 is proposed between the temperatures of 10 °C and 4 °C and another correction coefficient of 1.149 to model rates at 1 °C. For the transition from 4 °C to 1 °C, the adjustment of a previously reported Theta model is proposed in this study to account for exposure time at low temperatures; with the modified model showing strong correlation with measured rates (R2 = 0.88). Finally, a comparison of nitrification kinetics between MBBR systems acclimatized to 1 °C and systems that are cold-shocked to 1 °C demonstrated that shocked removal rates are 21% lower.