Nitrifying bio-cord reactor: performance optimization and effects of substratum and air scouring

<p>Ammonia removal kinetics and solids’ production performance of the bio-cord technology are studied in this research. Three nitrifying reactors housing different bio-cord substratum were operated at five different ammonia loading rates. All of the bio-cord substrata demonstrated stable and high ammonia-nitrogen removal efficiencies of 96.8 ± 0.9%, 97.0 ± 0.6% and 92.0 ± 0.4% at loading rates of 0.8, 1.6 and 1.8 g -N/m<sup>2</sup> d, respectively. At these same loading rates, the bio-cord reactors housing the three substrata also showed low solids’ production rates of 0.19 ± 0.03, 0.23 ± 0.02, 0.25 ± 0.03 g total suspended solids/d. A reduction of system stability, identified via fluctuating ammonia removal rates, was however observed for all substrata at loading rates of 2.1 and 2.4 g -N/m<sup>2</sup> d. Further, the solids’ production rates at these higher loading conditions were also observed to fluctuate for all substrata, likely indicating intermediate sloughing events. The effects of enhancing the air scouring of the bio-cord on the ammonia removal rate was shown to be dependent upon the substratum, while enhanced air scouring of the bio-cord was shown to stabilize the production of solids for all substrata. This study represents the first performance and optimization study of the bio-cord technology for low-carbon nitrification and shows that air scouring of the substratum reduces sloughing events at elevated loading and that the bio-cord technology achieves stable kinetics above conventional rates of 1 g -N/m<sup>2</sup> d to values of 1.8 g -N/m<sup>2</sup> d.</p>