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Resource-efficient nitrogen removal from source-separated urine with partial nitritation/anammox in a membrane-aerated biofilm reactor

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Abstract
Source separation and decentralized urine treatment can cut costs in centralized wastewater treatment by diverting 80% of the nitrogen load in sewage. One promising approach for nitrogen removal from source-separated urine is partial nitritation/anammox (PN/A), reducing the aeration demand by 67% and organic dosage by 100% compared to nitrification/denitrification. While previous studies with suspended biomass have encountered stability issues during PN/A treatment of urine, a PN/A biofilm was hypothesized to be more resilient. Its use for urine treatment has been pioneered here for maximum rates and efficiencies in an energy-efficient membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (MABR). Nitrogen removal rates of 1.0 g N L-1 d(-1) and removal efficiencies of 80-95% were achieved during a 335-day operational period at 28 degrees C on stabilized (pH > 11.5), diluted urine (10%). A balance between N-2 and NO3- formation was observed while optimizing the supply of O-2 through intermittent aeration and was rate limiting for the conversion toward N-2. A short-term operation on less- and undiluted urine yielded N removal rates of 0.6-0.8 g N L-1 d(-1) and removal efficiencies of 93% on 66% urine and 85% on undiluted urine. Metataxonomic analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridization confirmed the presence in the biofilm of nitrifiers (Nitrosomonas, Nitrospira) at the membrane side and anammox bacteria (Candidatus Brocadia) at the anoxic bulk side. The findings suggest that a biofilm approach to PN/A treatment of urine overcomes stability issues and that a PN/A-MABR has significant potential for resource-efficient decentralized urine treatment. In human long-duration deep-space missions, this gravity-independent technology could produce N-2 to compensate artificial atmosphere losses while facilitating water recovery from urine.
Keywords
regenerative life support systems, intermittent aeration, FISH, denitrification, membrane-aerated biofilmreactor, WASTE-WATER, ANAMMOX, NITRIFICATION, PERFORMANCE, POPULATION, INHIBITION, DYNAMICS, BACTERIA, CARBON

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MLA
Timmer, Marijn J., et al. “Resource-Efficient Nitrogen Removal from Source-Separated Urine with Partial Nitritation/Anammox in a Membrane-Aerated Biofilm Reactor.” ACS ES&T ENGINEERING, 2024, doi:10.1021/acsestengg.4c00058.
APA
Timmer, M. J., De Paepe, J., Van Winckel, T., Spiller, M., Spacova, I., De Paepe, K., … Vlaeminck, S. E. (2024). Resource-efficient nitrogen removal from source-separated urine with partial nitritation/anammox in a membrane-aerated biofilm reactor. ACS ES&T ENGINEERING. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestengg.4c00058
Chicago author-date
Timmer, Marijn J., Jolien De Paepe, Tim Van Winckel, Marc Spiller, Irina Spacova, Kim De Paepe, Isabel Pintelon, et al. 2024. “Resource-Efficient Nitrogen Removal from Source-Separated Urine with Partial Nitritation/Anammox in a Membrane-Aerated Biofilm Reactor.” ACS ES&T ENGINEERING. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestengg.4c00058.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Timmer, Marijn J., Jolien De Paepe, Tim Van Winckel, Marc Spiller, Irina Spacova, Kim De Paepe, Isabel Pintelon, Sarah Lebeer, Winnok H. De Vos, Christophe Lasseur, Ramon Ganigué, Kai M. Udert, and Siegfried E. Vlaeminck. 2024. “Resource-Efficient Nitrogen Removal from Source-Separated Urine with Partial Nitritation/Anammox in a Membrane-Aerated Biofilm Reactor.” ACS ES&T ENGINEERING. doi:10.1021/acsestengg.4c00058.
Vancouver
1.
Timmer MJ, De Paepe J, Van Winckel T, Spiller M, Spacova I, De Paepe K, et al. Resource-efficient nitrogen removal from source-separated urine with partial nitritation/anammox in a membrane-aerated biofilm reactor. ACS ES&T ENGINEERING. 2024;
IEEE
[1]
M. J. Timmer et al., “Resource-efficient nitrogen removal from source-separated urine with partial nitritation/anammox in a membrane-aerated biofilm reactor,” ACS ES&T ENGINEERING, 2024.
@article{01J2B873P8KS9DSSA8V0Q5Y18Z,
  abstract     = {{Source separation and decentralized urine treatment can cut costs in centralized wastewater treatment by diverting 80% of the nitrogen load in sewage. One promising approach for nitrogen removal from source-separated urine is partial nitritation/anammox (PN/A), reducing the aeration demand by 67% and organic dosage by 100% compared to nitrification/denitrification. While previous studies with suspended biomass have encountered stability issues during PN/A treatment of urine, a PN/A biofilm was hypothesized to be more resilient. Its use for urine treatment has been pioneered here for maximum rates and efficiencies in an energy-efficient membrane-aerated biofilm reactor (MABR). Nitrogen removal rates of 1.0 g N L-1 d(-1) and removal efficiencies of 80-95% were achieved during a 335-day operational period at 28 degrees C on stabilized (pH > 11.5), diluted urine (10%). A balance between N-2 and NO3- formation was observed while optimizing the supply of O-2 through intermittent aeration and was rate limiting for the conversion toward N-2. A short-term operation on less- and undiluted urine yielded N removal rates of 0.6-0.8 g N L-1 d(-1) and removal efficiencies of 93% on 66% urine and 85% on undiluted urine. Metataxonomic analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridization confirmed the presence in the biofilm of nitrifiers (Nitrosomonas, Nitrospira) at the membrane side and anammox bacteria (Candidatus Brocadia) at the anoxic bulk side. The findings suggest that a biofilm approach to PN/A treatment of urine overcomes stability issues and that a PN/A-MABR has significant potential for resource-efficient decentralized urine treatment. In human long-duration deep-space missions, this gravity-independent technology could produce N-2 to compensate artificial atmosphere losses while facilitating water recovery from urine.}},
  author       = {{Timmer, Marijn J. and  De Paepe, Jolien and  Van Winckel, Tim and  Spiller, Marc and  Spacova, Irina and De Paepe, Kim and  Pintelon, Isabel and  Lebeer, Sarah and  De Vos, Winnok H. and  Lasseur, Christophe and Ganigué, Ramon and  Udert, Kai M. and  Vlaeminck, Siegfried E.}},
  issn         = {{2690-0645}},
  journal      = {{ACS ES&T ENGINEERING}},
  keywords     = {{regenerative life support systems,intermittent aeration,FISH,denitrification,membrane-aerated biofilmreactor,WASTE-WATER,ANAMMOX,NITRIFICATION,PERFORMANCE,POPULATION,INHIBITION,DYNAMICS,BACTERIA,CARBON}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{13}},
  title        = {{Resource-efficient nitrogen removal from source-separated urine with partial nitritation/anammox in a membrane-aerated biofilm reactor}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.1021/acsestengg.4c00058}},
  year         = {{2024}},
}

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