Anaerobic Recovery

Task 1: Energy and nutrient recovery from anaerobic based wastewater/recovery systems.

For this task three aspects of anaerobic technologies will be examined.

  • Anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBR) have several advantages over traditional aerobic membrane bioreactors. In general MBRs need a relatively small physical footprint and eliminate the need for clarifiers in wastewater treatment. When operated anaerobically they can also produce biogas. An additional way to reduce energy needs in an AnMBR is with a gas lift system. Here we plan to determine the optimal operating conditions of a gas lift AnMBR (GL-AnMBR) and develop a with an energy surplus.
  • Small scale anaerobic digestion systems also hold great potential for decentralized wastewater treatment. However, anaerobic digesters often fail due to poor design, high capital costs, maintenance issues, etc. A goal for this PIRE is to develop guidelines for economically and sustainable design and use of small-scale anaerobic digesters that treat and recover resources from human and agricultural wastes.
  • Wastewater contains valuable nutrients for agricultural applications. In many areas outside the U.S. wastewater is used as a water sources and fertilizer to monopolize on these resources. Unfortunately there is a high risk of contracting gastrointestinal diseases associated with this practice, specifically the presence of Ascaris lumbricoides eggs. For this PIRE, anaerobic digestion will be explored as a method to inactivate Ascaris eggs ideally allowing for reuse of the digestate and reduced risks of infection.