Development of a simplified model for the fixed biofilm reactor

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

A simplified fixed biofilm model was developed to formulate the relationship between the substrate concentrations at both the entry and exit, at the biofilm–liquid interface and at the biofilm attached surface along with average substrate flux in the biofilm, substrate flux at the biofilm–liquid interface and effective biofilm thickness. The model considered the substrate mass transport external to the biofilm and into the biofilm as per Fick's law and the steady state substrate as well as biomass balance for attached growth microorganisms. Monod's growth kinetics has been adopted in substrate utilization, incorporating relevant boundary conditions. The numerical solution of model equations was accomplished for calculating average flux and exit substrate concentration and thereafter the Runge–Kutta method was employed for determining effective biofilm thickness. Consequently, two computer programs were developed for the purpose of rapid solution. The model was satisfactorily applied to data available from the literature for checking its accuracy and was validated with the experimental results. The model was found to be an easy, accurate and fast method that can be used for process design of a fixed biofilm reactor.

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