Anearobic Ammonium Oxidation
The excessive release of reactive nitrogen into natural water bodies is a major environmental concern as it leads to eutrophication, promoting the growth of weeds and algae. The decomposition of algae by bacteria consumes dissolved oxygen, leading to oxygen depletion and the death of aquatic life. Moreover, some algal species can produce toxins that contaminate drinking water.
Therefore, it is crucial to remove nitrogen from wastewater before discharge to natural waters to ensure sustainability. Most reactive nitrogen in wastewater is present in the form of ammonium, which should be removed before release to the environment. Current methods for ammonium removal produce N2O (such as nitrification and denitrification), a potent greenhouse gas, and a significant contributor to ozone depletion.
Therefore, alternative approaches are needed that focus on recovering energy from ammonium instead of merely destroying it. This project aims to develop an energy-efficient autotrophic biological nitrogen removal process that not only removes ammonium but also recovers its energy for sustainable resource management.
This approach aligns with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's objectives of promoting renewables and circular bioeconomy. The project is financially supported by SEAI.