Over the last decade new technologies are emerging even more for wastewater treatment. Among the new technologies, a recent possible solution regards Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors (MBBRs) that represent an effective alternative to conventional processes. More specifically such systems consist in the introduction of plastic elements inside the aerobic reactor as carrier material for the growth of attached biomass. Recently, one of the mostly used alternatives is to couple the Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) process with the conventional activated sludge process, and the resulting process is usually called HMBBR (Hybrid MBBR). In the MBBR process the biofilm grows attached on small plastic elements that are kept in constant motion throughout the entire volume of the reactor. Indeed, in such a system, a competition between the two biomasses, suspended and attached, can arise for the availability of the substrates, leading, as a consequence, to a modification in the biokinetic parameters of the two biomasses, compared to that of a pure suspended or attached biomass process. This paper presents the first results of a study aimed at estimating the kinetic heterotrophic constants in a HMBBR pilot plant using respirometric techniques. The pilot plant was built at the Acqua dei Corsari (Palermo) wastewater treatment plant and consisted of two parallel lines realized in a pre-anoxic scheme, in one of which the carrier material was added to the aerobic reactor with a filling ratio of 30%.
Keywords: hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor, MBBR, organic carbon removal, pilot plant experiments, respirometric analysis