Modeling Nitrous Oxide Production during Biological Nitrogen Removal via Nitrification and Denitrification: Extensions to the General ASM Models

Bing-Jie Ni, Maël Ruscalleda, Carles Pellicer i Nàcher, Barth F. Smets

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) can be formed during biological nitrogen (N) removal processes. In this work, a mathematical model is developed that describes N2O production and consumption during activated sludge nitrification and denitrification. The well-known ASM process models are extended to capture N2O dynamics during both nitrification and denitrification in biological N removal. Six additional processes and three additional reactants, all involved in known biochemical reactions, have been added. The validity and applicability of the model is demonstrated by comparing simulations with experimental data on N2O production from four different mixed culture nitrification and denitrification reactor study reports. Modeling results confirm that hydroxylamine oxidation by ammonium oxidizers (AOB) occurs 10 times slower when NO2– participates as final electron acceptor compared to the oxic pathway. Among the four denitrification steps, the last one (N2O reduction to N2) seems to be inhibited first when O2 is present. Overall, N2O production can account for 0.1–25% of the consumed N in different nitrification and denitrification systems, which can be well simulated by the proposed model. In conclusion, we provide a modeling structure, which adequately captures N2O dynamics in autotrophic nitrification and heterotrophic denitrification driven biological N removal processes and which can form the basis for ongoing refinements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology (Washington)
Issue number18
Pages (from-to)7768-7776
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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