Wastewater contains a large amount of nitrogen, either coming from urban areas or industrial facilities. The nitrogen discharge to surface waterways represents a great risk of eutrophication of water bodies, which severely affects the aquatic ecosystem. The main objective of the project is to develop a new and innovative environmental technology for nitrogen removal based on the anaerobic oxidation process of ammonia, using a new bio-film fixed bed system. The process will be suitable for the treatment of effluents with a high nitrogen content and low levels of organic matter in wastewater treatment plants. This innovative technology will achieve a significant reduction of generated sludge and a reduction of energy consumption in comparison to conventional processes (nitrification-denitrification). This project is innovative due to the fact that a autotrophic anaerobic oxidation process using bio-filtration has never been patented or applied at full scale.
Summary of project results
The project was needed because nowadays, two of the most common processes that are used to remove nitrogen from wastewater (aerobic nitrification and anaerobic denitrification) are both processes of high costs that could be lowered if new biotechnologies were used instead. The presence of nitrogen in wastewater can lead to eutrophication, which causes build-up of biomass in the ecosystem and depletes it of oxygen. The main objective of the project was to develop a new and innovative environmental technology for nitrogen removal, based on the anaerobic oxidation process of ammonia, using a new biofilm-fixed bed system (a one-step submerged biological filter). The process is suitable for the treatment of effluents with high nitrogen-content and low levels of organic matter in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). According to the results obtained during the project, it can be concluded that the denitrification technology developed is a process which can be technically applied to the return streams in sludge lines. However, although results show an elimination of nitrogen up to 70%, this process requires additional research and improvement. The company has a lot of interest and confidence in the success of this process and it will continue working in the pilot plant developed in order to optimize the treatment process.
Summary of bilateral results
VESTFORSK (Norwegian subcontracting) contributed in the following project phases: Phase 3. Effect of concentration of organic matter, and definition of submerged filter parameters Vestforsk's participation was primarily focused on the development of a polymeric material for pre-filtration of the organic material. It has developed a new filter material able to remove dissolved organic matter. The process is applicable to both treatment of dehydration returns and in general to water purification processes, having special application to those in which there is a little degradable soluble fraction.