Many industrial wastewater and sewage treatment plants use anaerobic reactors for the biological treatment of effluents. However, effluents from these reactors contains nitrogen compounds that can lead to environmental impact when discharged. The main goal of this project is to develop a new reactor configuration for post-treatment of effluents from UASB (Up-flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket) reactors for the removal of nitrogen compounds. A mixed anoxic-aerobic horizontal fixed bed reactor will be developed to operate nitrification and denitrification process in a unique reactor. To minimize operational costs, in the denitrification zone of the reactor, biogas/H2S will be provided as an electron donor. Thus, two processes will be carried out simultaneously, the nitrogen removal from the effluent and the biogas biodesulfurization, which can be used for energy production. To optimize the operational conditions of the bioreactor, the ammonium concentration contained in the wastewater, the ratio N/S needed to stabilize the reactor, the hydraulic retention time of the effluent and biogas residence time will be studied. The evolution of microbial diversity in different zones of the reactor will be analyzed using the Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE), metagenomics and Scanning Electron Microscopy.
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