Towards energy positive wastewater treatment by sludge treatment using free nitrous acid
Free nitrous acid (FNA i.e. HNO2) was revealed to be effective in enhancing biodegradability of secondary sludge. Also, nitrite-oxidizing bacteria were found to be more susceptible to FNA than ammonium-oxidizing bacteria. Based on these findings, a novel FNA-based sludge treatment technology is proposed to enhance energy recovery from wastewater/sludge. Energy analysis indicated that the FNA-based technology would make wastewater treatment become an energy generating process (yielding energy at 4 kWh/PE/y; kWh/PE/y: kilowatt hours per population equivalent per year), rather than being a large energy consumer that it is today (consuming energy at 24 kWh/PE/y). Importantly, FNA required for the sludge treatment could be produced as a by-product of wastewater treatment. This proposed FNA-based technology is economically and environmentally attractive, and can be easily implemented in any wastewater treatment plants. It only involves the installation of a simple sludge mixing tank. This article presents the concept of the FNA-based technology.
Environmental Biotechnology not elsewhere classified