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Water Res. 2002 Apr;36(8):2040-52.

Applying a novel autohydrogenotrophic hollow-fiber membrane biofilm reactor for denitrification of drinking water.

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Department of Civil Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-3109, USA.


We conducted a series of pseudo-steady-state experiments on a novel hollow-fiber membrane biofilm reactor used for denitrification of oligotrophic waters, such as drinking water. We applied a range of nitrate loadings and hydrogen pressures to establish under what conditions the system could attain three goodness-of-performance criteria: partial nitrate removal, minimization of hydrogen wasting, and low nitrite accumulation. The hollow-fiber membrane biofilm reactor could meet drinking-water standards for nitrate and nitrite while minimizing the amount of hydrogen wasted in the effluent when it was operated under hydrogen-limited conditions. For example, the system could achieve partial nitrate removals between 39% and 92%, effluent nitrate between 0.4 and 9.1 mg N/l, effluent nitrite less than 1 mg N/l, and effluent hydrogen below 0.1 mg H2/l. High fluxes of nitrate and hydrogen made it possible to have a short liquid retention time (42 min), compared with 1-13 h in other studies with hydrogen used as the electron donor for denitrification. The fluxes and concentrations for hydrogen, nitrate, and nitrite obtained in this study can be used as practical guidelines for system design.

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