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Biodegradation of wastewater pollutants by activated sludge encapsulated inside calcium-alginate beads in a tubular packed bed reactor

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Abstract

The wastewater treatment plants produce large quantities of biomass (sludge) that require about one-third of the total inversion and operation plant costs for their treatment. By the microorganisms immobilization it is possible to handle high cell concentration in the reactor, increasing its efficiency, reducing the loss of biomass and the wash out is avoided. Moreover, there is no cell growth then the sludge production is reduced. In this study, the COD removal and VSS variation were modeled in a tubular reactor with activated sludge immobilized in Ca-alginate. Moreover, two aspects that are commonly not considered in the performance of the actual reactors of this kind were introduced; the performance in non-steady state and the dispersion effect. The model was calibrated with an actual wastewater taken out from a Mexican wastewater treatment plant. The results of the performance of the tubular bioreactor at different scenarios (i.e., different residence time and VSS in the reactor) are presented. With longer residence times and higher VSS concentration in the Ca-alginate beads in the tubular bioreactor it is possible to increase the time operation of the bioreactor and to treat higher volumes of wastewater. During the process, the sludge generation was drastically reduced and it is possible to remove nitrogen form the wastewater making this process more attractive.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to express our gratitude to CONACyT, Mexico, for the financial support given to accomplish this study.

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Correspondence to A. Martinez D. Sergio.

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Sergio, A.M.D., Bustos, T.Y. Biodegradation of wastewater pollutants by activated sludge encapsulated inside calcium-alginate beads in a tubular packed bed reactor. Biodegradation 20, 709–715 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10532-009-9258-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10532-009-9258-y

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