George Wells’ Research Group at Northwestern University

The research group of George Wells at Northwestern University is conducting a bench-scale investigation of shortcut biological nitrogen removal (scBNR) processes integrated with enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) and has teamed up with inCTRL Solutions to model these processes and perform predictive scenario evaluation in the SIMBA# simulation platform. Water resource recovery facilities are under increasing pressure to remove nitrogen and phosphorus while minimizing costs and greenhouse gas emissions. scBNR processes, which rely on the suppression of nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB), decrease aeration requirements considerably compared to conventional nitrification/dentrification and allow for maximum allocation of organic carbon either to phosphorus accumulating organisms (PAO) or to the plant’s sludge handling stream. scBNR is thus regarded as a crucial technology to allow for low-energy nitrogen and phosphorus removal.

Robust bioprocess modeling aided by SIMBA# will add an additional layer of very useful process information to complement experiment data. The experimental reactors are equipped with online sensors and a PLC/SCADA system for sensor-based control strategy evaluation. SIMBA# is uniquely suited to model sensor-based control strategies and the allied Monitoring and Control Platform have substantial capabilities to detect sensor malfunctions.  The experimental bioprocesses in this study employ a variety of biomass aggregate types ((moving bed biofilm carriers, granules, and flocs) which are effectively handled by the biofilm and suspended growth reactor models in SIMBA#. SIMBA# will be an incredibly useful tool and inCTRL Solutions is proving to be an exceptional partner in this research effort.