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Moving forward in the use of aerobic granular sludge for municipal wastewater treatment: an overview

  • Mario Sepúlveda-Mardones
  • José Luis Campos
  • Albert Magrí
  • Gladys VidalEmail author
Review paper

Abstract

Activated sludge is one of the most widely implemented technologies for municipal wastewater treatment. Yet, more restrictive environmental standards demand for more efficient technologies. Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) is a promising alternative in this context since this technology has shown potential for simultaneous organic matter and nutrient removal using smaller bioreactors and consuming less energy. However, despite such engaging claims, only ca. 40 full-scale AGS systems have been installed worldwide after 30 years of development. This reduced implementation suggests the existence of significant bottlenecks for this technology, which currently only have partially been overcome. This overview aims to analyze the recent progress in R&D concerning aerobic sludge granulation for municipal wastewater treatment via the analysis of research articles and invention patents as well as to elucidate exiting technological gaps and development opportunities. Culturing methods aiming at fast granulation, long-term stability and excellent process performance are of utmost interest for promoting massive implementation of full-scale AGS systems. Moreover, the recovery of biomaterials from waste sludge could contribute to the implementation of the biorefinery paradigm in wastewater treatment plants.

Keywords

Aerobic granular sludge Domestic sewage Full-scale Wastewater treatment plant 

Abbreviations

AGS

Aerobic granular sludge

AHL

N-Acyl-homoserine-lactone

ALE

Alginate-like exopolysaccharides

ANAMMOX

Anaerobic ammonium oxidation

AOB

Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria

AS

Activated sludge

BNR

Biological nutrient removal

BOD

Biochemical oxygen demand

CFR

Continuous flow reactor

COD

Chemical oxygen demand

DAF

Dissolved air flotation

EPS

Extracellular polymeric substances

GAO

Glycogen accumulating organisms

H/D

Height-to-diameter ratio

MBR

Membrane bioreactor

NOB

Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria

OLR

Organic loading rate

PAO

Polyphosphate-accumulating organisms

PCP

P-Chlorophenol

PE

Population equivalent

PHA

Polyhydroxyalkanoate

PHB

Poly-β-hydroxybutyrate

PHV

Polyhydroxyvalerate

QQ

Quorum quenching

QS

Quorum sensing

R&D

Research and development

SBR

Sequencing batch reactor

SND

Simultaneous nitrification–denitrification

SRT

Solids retention time

SVI

Sludge volume index

SVI10

SVI at 10 min

SVI30

SVI at 30 min

SVI5

SVI at 5 min

TN

Total nitrogen

TP

Total phosphorus

TSS

Total suspended solids

UASB

Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket

VER

Volume exchange ratio

VSS

Volatile suspended solids

WWTP

Wastewater treatment plant

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by CONICYT/FONDAP/15130015.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering and Biotechnology Environmental Group, Environmental Science Faculty and Center EULA–ChileUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering and SciencesAdolfo Ibáñez UniversityViña del MarChile
  3. 3.LEQUIA, Institute of the EnvironmentUniversity of GironaGironaSpain

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