Bioreduction of nitrate in groundwater using a pilot-scale hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor

Youneng Tang, Michal Ziv-El, Chen Zhou, Jung Hun Shin, Chang Hoon Ahn, Kerry Meyer, Daniel Candelaria, David Friese, Ryan Overstreet, Rick Scott, Bruce Rittmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


A long-term pilot-scale H2-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) was tested for removal of nitrate from actual groundwater. A key feature of this secondgeneration pilot MBfR is that it employed lower cost polyester hollow fibers and still achieved high loading rate. The steady-state maximum nitrate surface loading at which the effluent nitrate and nitrite concentrations were below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) was at least 5.9 g·N·(m2·d)-1, which corresponds to a maximum volumetric loading of at least 7.7 kg·N·(m3·d) -1. The steady-state maximum nitrate surface area loading was higher than the highest nitrate surface loading reported in the firstgeneration MBfRs using composite fibers (2.6 g·N·(m2·d)-1). This work also evaluated the H2-utilization efficiency in MBfR. The measured H2 supply rate was only slightly higher than the stoichiometric H2-utilization rate. Thus, H2 utilization was controlled by diffusion and was close to 100% efficiency, as long as biofilm accumulated on the polyester-fiber surface and the fibers had no leaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-285
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering in China
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


  • denitrification
  • groundwater treatment
  • hydrogen
  • membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR)
  • polyester fiber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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