Modeling trichloroethene reduction in a hydrogen-based biofilm

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We constructed a multispecies biofilm model for simultaneous reduction of trichloroethene (TCE) and nitrate (NO3) in the biofilm of a H2-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR). The one-dimensional model includes dual-substrate Monod kinetics for a steady-state biofilm with multiple solid and dissolved components. The model has five solid components: autotrophic denitrifying bacteria (ADB), heterotrophic denitrifying bacteria (HDB), Dehalococcoides (DHC), inert biomass (IB), and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). The model has eight dissolved components: NO3, TCE, dichloroethene (DCE), vinyl chloride (VC), ethene, hydrogen (H2), substrate-utilization-associated products (UAP), and biomass-associated products (BAP). We used this model to simulate a bench-scale experiment in a H2-based MBfR. The model simulated the trends well: almost complete removal of nitrate, incomplete reduction of TCE, and almost no accumulation of DCE and VC. To gain insight into reductive dehalogenation in a H2-based MBfR, we also simulated the concentrations of nitrate, TCE, DCE, VC, and ethene in the reactor effluent while varying the influent nitrate concentration. Simultaneous low concentrations of nitrate and the three chlorinated ethenes can occur as long as the influent ratio of NO3 to TCE is not too large, so that DHC are a significant fraction of the biofilm.

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