In recent years, technological advancements have enabled the wastewater treatment industry to develop new approaches aimed at enhancing contaminants and nutrient removal technologies, as well as boosting efficiency and lowering costs. Aerobic granular sludge technique is quickly gaining attraction as one of the most promising and novel approaches to wastewater treatment.
For a long time, the traditional Activated Sludge Process (ASP) system has been one of the most widely utilised technologies for biological wastewater treatment. The ASP system is used by the vast majority of treatment plants. It involves a microbial population suspended in wastewater in the form of flocs. However, the Activated Sludge Process system has several disadvantages, such as low biomass concentration, maximum floor sizes, and high energy for various purposes. Separate settling and aeration tanks are also required for this process, and activated sludge's poor settleability results in poor effluent quality and treatment efficiency. The advantages of aerobic granular sludge technology outweigh the disadvantages of ASP systems.
Aerobic Granular Sludge Technology
The first study on aerobic granular sludge was published in the early 1990s, and it has been intensively researched over the last two decades in order to develop more sustainable wastewater treatment options. In these investigations, both aerobic and anaerobic microbial metabolic activity were found in the granules, allowing for simultaneous nitrification and de-nitrification processes. Scientists are also interested in this technique because of its increased efficiency and potential to reduce the footprint of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants.
What is Aerobic Granular Sludge Technology, and how does it work?
When compared to the activated sludge process, Aerobic Granular Sludge has different physical, chemical, and microbiological features. This system can be utilised for effective secondary wastewater treatment with or without initial treatment, according to experts. It is a three-phase batch process that is completed in a single tank. As in biofilms, bacterial cells aggregate in granular sludge to form a thick and strong connection.
It is made up of bio-granules that are utilised as biomass in the activated sludge process to treat wastewater biologically. Similar to aerobic wastewater treatment, it fulfils this function without mechanical mixing and in the presence of oxygen in a regulated environment.
Granules are microbial aggregates that do not coagulate due to reduced hydrodynamic shear and settle faster than activated sludge flocs in this process. Furthermore, unlike the loosely mixed microbial population in ASP, granules in Aerobic Granular Sludge Technology are stratified when it comes to microbiology. The aerobic granule's dense composition allows for excellent and rapid settling, high biomass retention, and the capacity to withstand severe shock loads. There are different zones in each granule, such as aerobic, anaerobic, and anoxic. As a result, each granule functions as a little treatment plant.
The AGS process removes carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and hazardous contaminants through biodegradation. It is a cost-effective treatment technology for eliminating pollutants from reduced and oxidised wastewater.
Advantages of aerobic granular sludge Technology:
Aerobic Granular Sludge Technology has the following advantages:
• 20% less surface area required for treatment plant
• 30% reduced power (energy) requirements
• Minimal operation is required because all treatment processes are done in a single tank
• Cost-cutting on both the capital and operational fronts
• There are less solids to dewater and dispose of
• Does not necessitate the use of expensive bacteria-supporting medium or solids-separation membranes
• It is possible to retrofit wastewater treatment plants
• BOD and TSS effluent characteristics have been shown to be 10 mg/L in studies
Disadvantages of Aerobic Granular Sludge Technology
• Relatively new technology, with the majority of research taking place in laboratories.
• The impact of sudden changes in influent composition or hazardous shocks/spills is unknown.
• There is currently no comprehensive real-world data on industrial wastewater treatment.
The future of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment is considered to be Aerobic Granular Sludge Technology. The outcomes of increased study and progress, as well as more industries deploying this technology, will provide a clearer grasp of its potential.
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