Mainstream Partial Nitritation/Anammox (PNA) Using Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactors (MABRs)

Student:                 Brett Wagner (Ph.D.)         
Faculty:                  Glen T. Daigger, Nancy G. Love

This research is focused on the use of a partial nitritation anammox (PNA) membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) for nitrogen removal in mainstream wastewater. While sidestream PNA is well-established, significant challenges remain extending the process to mainstream applications, including lower wastewater temperatures, much lower ammonia concentrations, and nitrite oxidizing bacteria outselection. Using both process modeling tools (SUMO, Dynamita) and a laboratory-scale experimental system, various research questions are being investigated. An initial study evaluated options for accelerating the start-up and improving the performance of a PNA MABR with an anammox enrichment strategy. Currently, we are exploring the impact of the reactor configuration (1-stage, hybrid, or 2-stage system) on the overall nitrogen removal performance. The knowledge gained from these research objectives will help practitioners know how to best incorporate the anammox metabolism into MABRs and will hopefully increase their adoption in mainstream nitrogen removal.


Figure 1. Comparison of the effluent total nitrogen concentrations for a traditional startup (left) and an anammox enrichment startup strategy (right).



Figure 2. Different configurations of PNA MABRs that are being evaluated