Modelling the effect of oxygen concentration on nitrite accumulation in a biofilm airlift suspension reactor

C. Picioreanu, M. C.M. Van Loosdrecht, J. J. Heijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


For an integrated nitrification-denitrification process, nitrite formation in the aerobic stage leads to big savings. Recently experimental observations have shown that it is possible to obtain full ammonium conversion with approximately 50% nitrate and 50% nitrite in the effluent of a biofilm air-lift suspension reactor. With oxygen concentrations between 1 and 2 mg/l a maximum nitrite accumulation of 50% was reached. Here we give a simple diffusion-reaction model describing these results. All the kinetic and mass transfer parameters were taken from the literature, except the mass transfer coefficient around the biofilm surface, which was fitted. The proposed model describes very well the measured data, despite the assumptions made. Using this model the influence of operational parameters was evaluated in order to establish ways to affect the NO2 - concentration. None of these (surface loading, k1, pH) had a significant effect on the maximal NO2 - accumulation. Controlling the oxygen concentration seems to be the most practical method to obtain optimal nitrification to nitrite in BAS reactors.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2022-09-13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Engineering


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