Advanced Water Management Centre

Paper wins ES&T Runner Up for Environmental Technology

Thursday, 04 April 2019
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An AWMC paper has won second Runner Up for the Environmental Technology category in the Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T) Journal Best Paper of 2018 awards.

The paper Self-Sustained Nitrite Accumulation at Low pH Greatly Enhances Volatile Solids Destruction and Nitrogen Removal in Aerobic Sludge Digestion was awarded Runner Up at the ACS National Meeting in Orlando.

The winning papers are chosen from a long-list of 100 most exceptional papers identified by Editors of ES&T from around 1,600 papers published in the journal across the year.

The study presented in this paper covers a new operational approach that attained self-producing nitrite accumulation by one dose of nitrite into aerobic digesters worked at low pH state.

Haoran Duan, UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow and first author on the paper, said that this approach will greatly enhance aerobic digestion and nitrogen removal at no extra cost.

“This strategy could significantly benefit water utilities by reducing sludge production volume, removing nitrogen, and improving pathogen removal and final sludge stability,” he said.

“Simple operation approach and low asset requirement are major advantages of aerobic digestion, so it is important that the new operation strategy incurs very little additional costs and is applicable to any existing aerobic digesters.”

Improved volatile solid (VS) destruction could directly reduce the cost of water utilities on sludge transport and handling.

Compared to control reactors, the VS destruction in reactors operated with the proposed strategy increased by upwards of 30%.

In addition, the pathogen reduction was improved by 1 log and the standard oxygen uptake rates were reduced by almost half, indicating enhanced stabilization.

The strategy also promoted nitrogen removal, attaining between 60-70% reductions of total inorganic nitrogen in reactors after applying the strategy.

The improved digested sludge quality increases the possibilities for sludge reuse (e.g., land application), which, again, could save on the cost of sludge handling for utilities.

Professor Zhiguo Yuan, AWMC Director and the corresponding author of the paper, said ES&T is broad journal so having a wastewater paper being selected as a runner-up is a great achievement.

 

Self-Sustained Nitrite Accumulation at Low pH Greatly Enhances Volatile Solids Destruction and Nitrogen Removal in Aerobic Sludge Digestion
Haoran Duan, Liu Ye, Xuanyu Lu, Damien J. Batstone, and Zhiguo Yuan
Environmental Science & Technology 2019 53 (3), 1225-1234
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b04498