Shortcut nitrification has been successfully applied in a laboratory scale nitrification-denitrification process consisting of an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) and an aerobic membrane bioreactor (MBR) in treating synthetic and municipal wastewater to simultaneously remove organic carbon and nitrogen. For the treatment of synthetic wastewater, the combined system exhibited a high TOC removal of 98% with a steady ammonia removal efficiency of about 98% in the MBR and a total nitrogen (TN) removal efficiency of 90%. In treating municipal wastewater, due to its low COD concentration, removal efficiencies of TOC, ammonia and TN were 70%, 98% and 60%, respectively. The biogas production was around 76.4 L/m3 wastewater when treating synthetic wastewater. However, little biogas was produced when treating municipal wastewater which was the result of low organic carbon loading to the UASB. Energy analysis has demonstrated that this novel shortcut nitrification process could consume less energy than a conventional process and have the potential of bio-energy generation via biogas production thus helping to achieve a more favorable energy balance.
Keywords: energy, membrane bioreactor, nutrient removal, UASB