Future Perspectives in Bioreactor Development
The paper discusses conversion capacities of both anaerobic and aerobic wastewater treatment systems in relation to growth kinetics, hydrodynamics and biomass concentration. In the current modern anaerobic high-rate reactors the conversion potentials are optimally exploited. This is not yet true for aerobic systems since operation of aerobic systems under conditions of low biomass growth reduces the maximum applicable loading rates significantly. Both the concept of granulation and the introduction of fluidised bed systems have increased conversion capacities for both anaerobic and aerobic systems significantly. One of the latest development concerns the SBR with granular biomass. The grazing concept, in which ciliates convert aerobically grown dispersed cells, offers a possibility for significant improvement of aerobic systems. In the fields of psychrophilic and thermophilic anaerobic treatment, specific reactor development may contribute to further enhance volumetric conversion capacities. Due to reduced water usage, both COD and salt concentrations tend to increase for industrial effluents. As a consequence, there is a need for the development of anaerobic reactors retaining flocculant biomass. The membrane bioreactors offer a solution for certain niches in wastewater treatment. However the oxygen transfer economy is poor. There is a need for fundamental knowledge development to obtain a realistic image of this technology.