Fluidized-Bed Bioreactor Applications for Biological Wastewater Treatment: A Review of Research and Developments

Michael J. Nelson, George Nakhla, Jesse Zhu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wastewater treatment is a process that is vital to protecting both the environment and human health. At present, the most cost-effective way of treating wastewater is with biological treatment processes such as the activated sludge process, despite their long operating times. However, population increases have created a demand for more efficient means of wastewater treatment. Fluidization has been demonstrated to increase the efficiency of many processes in chemical and biochemical engineering, but it has not been widely used in large-scale wastewater treatment. At the University of Western Ontario, the circulating fluidized-bed bioreactor (CFBBR) was developed for treating wastewater. In this process, carrier particles develop a biofilm composed of bacteria and other microbes. The excellent mixing and mass transfer characteristics inherent to fluidization make this process very effective at treating both municipal and industrial wastewater. Studies of lab- and pilot-scale systems showed that the CFBBR can remove over 90% of the influent organic matter and 80% of the nitrogen, and produces less than one-third as much biological sludge as the activated sludge process. Due to its high efficiency, the CFBBR can also be used to treat wastewaters with high organic solid concentrations, which are more difficult to treat with conventional methods because they require longer residence times; the CFBBR can also be used to reduce the system size and footprint. In addition, it is much better at handling and recovering from dynamic loadings (i.e., varying influent volume and concentrations) than current systems. Overall, the CFBBR has been shown to be a very effective means of treating wastewater, and to be capable of treating larger volumes of wastewater using a smaller reactor volume and a shorter residence time. In addition, its compact design holds potential for more geographically localized and isolated wastewater treatment systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-342
Number of pages13
JournalEngineering
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bio-particles
  • Biological nutrient removal
  • Biological wastewater treatment
  • Fluidized-bed reactor
  • Fluidized-bed technology
  • High-efficiency process
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (all)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Engineering (all)

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