Navigation Links
Notre Dame research could improve sustainability and cost effectiveness of wastewater treatment

University of Notre Dame researcher Robert Nerenberg can tell you many things you might not know about wastewater treatment plants, including their significant carbon footprint, energy demands and chemical costs. His past research has addressed ways to drastically improve the energy efficiency of wastewater treatment. He now is telling the wastewater treatment industry about his promising new line of research that has the capability of significantly decreasing chemical costs and carbon footprint.

Nerenberg, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences, points out that wastewater treatment plants are increasingly using a biologic nutrient removal (BNR) process to protect human health and the environment. This BNR process typically adds an external electron donor, or carbon source, such as methanol or ethanol. However, these chemicals are expensive, have toxicity and handling concerns, and can have a significant carbon footprint.

Nerenberg notes that gaseous electron donors have rarely been used in wastewater treatment because of their sparse solubility. However, a new biofilm reactor technology known as the membrane-biofilm reactor (MBfR) effectively delivers gaseous substances directly to the biofilm, bypassing the solubility problems. Hydrogen gas has been delivered to an MBfR to remove oxidized contaminants such as nitrate.

Nerenberg is studying the feasibility of using several inorganic or gaseous compounds, such as sulfur, sulfur dioxide, sulfite, hydrogen sulfite and methane, for delivery to MBfRs. Many of these compounds are waste products of other industries and can be much more cost effective and sustainable than the carbon compounds currently used in BNR processes. Elemental sulfur, for example, is a waste product from a number of industries, including oil refining and coal or gas-burning refining plants, and in many cases these industries would be happy to provide the sulfur for free to entities willing to remove it. The research thus also offers a means to transform a waste product into a valuable resource.

Nerenberg's research offers such promise that the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) Endowment for Innovation n Applied Water Quality Research awarded him its 2012 Paul L. Busch Award. The $100,000 award recognizes an outstanding individual whose ongoing efforts contribute significantly to water quality research and its practical application in the water environment.

The Busch Award Committee identified Nerenberg's work as feasible and able to demonstrate results and full-scale application quickly. Nerenberg will initially focus his research on sulfur and sulfur dioxide, which have the highest potential for immediate application. And he is already moving the research forward quickly with help from the Hampton Roads Sanitation District in Virginia, where preliminary denitrification tests have been conducted with sulfur and sulfur dioxide.

Nerenberg hopes the research will provide the basic information necessary to quickly develop treatment applications and help identify the most suitable reactor configurations, thereby dramatically decreasing operational costs and improving sustainability at wastewater treatment facilities.


Contact: Robert Nerenberg
University of Notre Dame

Related biology news :

1. Notre Dame research could provide new insights into tuberculosis and other diseases
2. Notre Dame researcher is shedding light on how jaws evolve
3. Notre Dame establishes professorships in adult stem cell research
4. Notre Dame researchers using novel method to combat malaria drug resistance
5. New paper by Notre Dame researchers describes method for cleaning up nuclear waste
6. USDA funded research leads to key discoveries in the pig genome
7. Dartmouth research: The clocks are ticking and the climate is changing
8. A class of RNA molecules protects germ cells from damage, Penn vet researchers show
9. Researchers sequence swine genome, discover associations that may advance animal and human health
10. Researchers uncover some good news for BCs troubled salmon populations
11. Researchers use GPS tracking to monitor crab behavior
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... golden retriever that stayed healthy despite having the gene ... new lead for treating this muscle-wasting disorder, report scientists ... and Harvard and the University of São Paolo in ... pinpoints a protective gene that boosts muscle regeneration, ... Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel , PhD, is ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015 About ... that helps to identify and verify the identity ... considered as the secure and accurate method of ... a particular individual because each individual,s signature is ... especially when dynamic signature of an individual is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce that ... Association (MHTA) as one of only three finalists for ... – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor ... shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... LUMPUR, Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... global contract research organisation (CRO) market. The trend ... result in lower margins but higher volume share ... increased capacity and scale, however, margins in the ... Research Organisation (CRO) Market ( ), ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will ... New York on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ... and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. th ... at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola ... a corporate overview. --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... the year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 ... 8–11 November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 --> ... "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product & Services (Primer, Probe, ... DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical & Biotech, Diagnostic Labs) ... market is expected to reach USD 1,918.6 Million by ... CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: