Modeling biological nutrient removal in a liquid-solid circulating fluidized bed bioreactor

Nabin Chowdhury, George Nakhla, Dipankar Sen, Jesse Zhu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Both laboratory-scale and pilot-scale liquid-solid circulating fluidized bed (LSCFB) bioreactors have demonstrated excellent biological nutrient removal (BNR) from municipal wastewater. In this study, a model for the LSCFB for biological nutrient removal has been developed, calibrated, and validated using pilot-scale experimental results. RESULTS: An efficient reactor arrangement predicted anoxic-anaerobic and aerobic biofilm thicknesses of 150-400 and 70-175 μm in the riser and downer, respectively. Furthermore, distribution of chemical oxygen demand (COD), NH4-N, NO X-N, and dissolved oxygen in the biofilm, as well as nutrients removed in the aerobic and anoxic zones, reflect nitrification, denitrification and enhanced biological phosphorus removal in the LSCFB. The model predicted both anoxic effluent and final effluent COD, SCOD, SBOD, NH4-N, NO3-N, TKN, TN, PO4-P, and TP were within the 95% confidence intervals of the experimental data. Model-predicted simultaneous nitrification/denitrification occurring in the aerobic downer. CONCLUSION: This model developed for LSCFB using the AQUIFAS biofilm diffusion model successfully evaluated the process performance. It is an efficient tool for further research, design, and optimization of the fixed film bioreactor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1401
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofilm
  • Denitrification
  • Enhanced biological phosphorus removal
  • Nitrification
  • Simultaneous nitrification denitrification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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