Biofilm carrier migration model describes reactor performance

Joshua P. Boltz, Bruce R. Johnson, Imre Takács, Glen T. Daigger, Eberhard Morgenroth, Doris Brockmann, Róbert Kovács, Jason M. Calhoun, Jean Marc Choubert, Nicolas Derlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The accuracy of a biofilm reactor model depends on the extent to which physical system conditions (particularly bulk-liquid hydrodynamics and their influence on biofilm dynamics) deviate from the ideal conditions upon which the model is based. It follows that an improved capacity to model a biofilm reactor does not necessarily rely on an improved biofilm model, but does rely on an improved mathematical description of the biofilm reactor and its components. Existing biofilm reactor models typically include a one-dimensional biofilm model, a process (biokinetic and stoichiometric) model, and a continuous flow stirred tank reactor (CFSTR) mass balance that [when organizing CFSTRs in series] creates a pseudo two-dimensional (2-D) model of bulk-liquid hydrodynamics approaching plug flow. In such a biofilm reactor model, the user-defined biofilm area is specified for each CFSTR; thereby, Xcarrier does not exit the boundaries of the CFSTR to which they are assigned or exchange boundaries with other CFSTRs in the series. The error introduced by this pseudo 2-D biofilm reactor modeling approach may adversely affect model results and limit model-user capacity to accurately calibrate a model. This paper presents a new sub-model that describes the migration of Xcarrier and associated biofilms, and evaluates the impact that Xcarrier migration and axial dispersion has on simulated system performance. Relevance of the new biofilm reactor model to engineering situations is discussed by applying it to known biofilm reactor types and operational conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2818-2828
Number of pages11
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofilm
  • Design
  • Model
  • Reactor
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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