Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

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The energy-environment nexus: aerosol science and technology enabling solutions
Pratim BISWAS, Wei-Ning WANG, Woo-Jin AN
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 299-312.

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Energy issues are important and consumption is slated to increase across the globe in the future. The energy-environment nexus is very important as strategies to meet future energy demand are developed. To ensure sustainable growth and development, it is essential that energy production is environmentally benign. There are two temporal issues—one that is immediate, and needs to address the environmental compliance of energy generation from fossil fuel sources; and second that is the need to develop newer alternate and more sustainable approaches in the future. Aerosol science and technology is an enabling discipline that addresses the energy issue over both these time scales. The paper is a review of aspects of aerosol science and engineering that helps address carbon neutrality of fossil fuels. Advanced materials to meet these challenges are discussed. Future approaches to effective harvesting of sunlight that are enabled by aerosol studies are discussed.

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Development of a cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) counter using a laser and charge-coupled device (CCD) camera
Mikyung PARK, Jinkwan OH, Kihong PARK
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 313-319.

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A continuous flow streamwise thermal gradient cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) counter with an aerosol focusing and a laser-charge-coupled device (CCD) camera detector system was developed here. The counting performance of the laser-CCD camera detector system was evaluated by comparing its measured number concentrations with those measured with a condensation particle counter (CPC) using polystyrene latex (PSL) and NaCl particles of varying sizes. The CCD camera parameters (e.g. brightness, gain, gamma, and exposure time) were optimized to detect moving particles in the sensing volume and to provide the best image to count them. The CCN counter worked well in the particle number concentration range of 0.6–8000 #·cm-3 and the minimum detectable size was found to be 0.5 μm. The supersaturation in the CCN counter with varying temperature difference was determined by using size-selected sodium chloride particles based on K?hler equation. The developed CCN counter was applied to investigate CCN activity of atmospheric ultrafine particles at 0.5% supersaturation. Data showed that CCN activity increased with increasing particle size and that the higher CCN activation for ultrafine particles occurred in the afternoon, suggesting the significant existence of hygroscopic or soluble species in photochemically-produced ultrafine particles.

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Dilution sampling and analysis of particulate matter in biomass-derived syngas
Xiaoliang WANG, Curtis ROBBINS, S. Kent HOEKMAN, Judith C. CHOW, John G. WATSON, Dennis SCHUETZLE
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 320-330.

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Thermochemical biomass gasification, followed by conversion of the produced syngas to fuels and electrical power, is a promising energy alternative. Real-world characterization of particulate matter (PM) and other contaminants in the syngas is important to minimize damage and ensure efficient operation of the engines it powers and the fuels created from it. A dilution sampling system is demonstrated to quantify PM in syngas generated from two gasification plants utilizing different biomass feedstocks: a BioMax?15 Biopower System that uses raw and torrefied woodchips as feedstocks, and an integrated biorefinery (IBR) that uses rice hulls and woodchips as feedstocks. PM2.5 mass concentrations in syngas from the IBR downstream of the purification system were 12.8–13.7 μg·m-3, which were significantly lower than the maximum level for catalyst protection (500 μg·m-3) and were 2–3 orders of magnitude lower than those in BioMax?15 syngas (2247–4835 μg·m-3). Ultrafine particle number concentration and PM2.5 chemical constituents were also much lower in the IBR syngas than in the BioMax?15. The dilution sampling system enabled reliable measurements over a wide range of concentrations: the use of high sensitivity instruments allowed measurement at very low concentrations (~1 μg·m-3), while the flexibility of dilution minimized sampling problems that are commonly encountered due to high levels of tars in raw syngas (~1 g·m-3).

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Estimating the effects of meteorology on PM2.5 reduction during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China
Liu YANG, Ye WU, Jerry M. DAVIS, Jiming HAO
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 331-341.

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Particulate pollution was a critical challenge to the promise of good air quality during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which took place from August 8th to 24th. To ensure good air quality for the Games, several temporary emission control measures were implemented in Beijing and surrounding areas. Ambient particulate matter concentration decreased significantly during the Olympic period; however, it is difficult to distinguish the effectiveness of those control measures since meteorology also affects ambient PM2.5 concentration. In this work, a multiple linear regression model based on continuous field monitoring at a roadside site was conducted to evaluate the effects of meteorology and emission control measures on the reduction of PM2.5 during the 2008 Olympic Games. The hourly data set was divided into two time periods, the no control period, June 22nd to July 4th, and the control period, July 28th to August 21st. The response variable was PM2.5 and the meteorology covariates used in the model were hourly temperature, dew point temperature, wind speed and precipitation. Wind direction was not a significant predictor of PM2.5 levels in either the control or the no control period. Using the meteorologically-based regression coefficients from the two time periods, meteorology was found to contribute to at least a 16% reduction in PM2.5 levels in the roadside microenvironment; while the pollution control measures contributed to at least a 43% reduction in PM2.5 levels.

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Hygroscopicity of ambient submicron particles in urban Hangzhou, China
Jiachen ZHANG, Lin WANG, Jianmin CHEN, Shengmao FENG, Jiandong SHEN, Li JIAO
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 342-347.

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In this study, hygroscopicity of size-segregated ambient submicron particles in urban Hangzhou was studied from 28th December 2009 to 18th January 2010, using a hygroscopicity-tandem differential mobility analyzer (H-TDMA). The submicron particles in Hangzhou showed a minor hygroscopic growth at 73% relative humidity (RH), and then grew significantly between 77% and 82% RH. Monomodal distribution accounted for 90% for 30 nm particles, 17% for 50 nm particles, and less than 7% for particles larger than 50 nm at 82% RH. Deconvolution of the bimodal distribution indicated a less hygroscopic group and a more hygroscopic group, with the fraction of the more hygroscopic group increasing with the initial dry particle size and then remaining almost constant for accumulation mode particles. Our results imply that submicron particles in urban Hangzhou were almost entirely externally mixed, and the hygroscopic properties of ambient particles in urban Hangzhou were mainly a function of their size and chemical composition.

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Physical and chemical processes of wintertime secondary nitrate aerosol formation
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 348-361.

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The UCD/CIT model was modified to include a process analysis (PA) scheme for gas and particulate matter (PM) to study the formation of secondary nitrate aerosol during a stagnant wintertime air pollution episode during the California Regional PM2.5/PM10 Air Quality Study (CRPAQS) where detailed measurements of PM components are available at a few sites. Secondary nitrate is formed in the urban areas from near the ground to a few hundred meters above the surface during the day with a maximum modeled net increase rate of 4 μg·m-3·d-1 during the study episode. The secondary nitrate formation rate in rural areas is lower due to lower NO2. In the afternoon hours, near-surface temperature can be high enough to evaporate the particulate nitrate. In the nighttime hours, both the gas phase N2O5 reactions with water vapor and the N2O5 heterogeneous reactions with particle-bound water are important for secondary nitrate formation. The N2O5 reactions are most import near the surface to a few hundred meters above surface with a maximum modeled net secondary nitrate increase rate of 1 μg·m-3·d-1 and are more significant in the rural areas where the O3 concentrations are high at night. In general, vertical transport during the day moves the nitrate formed near the surface to higher elevations. During the stagnant days, process analysis indicates that the nitrate concentration in the upper air builds up and leads to a net downward flux of nitrate through vertical diffusion and a rapid increase of surface nitrate concentration.

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Computational fluid dynamics simulation of aerosol transport and deposition
Yingjie TANG, Bing GUO
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 362-377.

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In this article computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation of aerosol transport and deposition, i.e. the transport and deposition of particles in an aerosol, is reviewed. The review gives a brief account of the basics of aerosol mechanics, followed by a description of the general CFD approach for flow field simulation, turbulence modeling, wall treatments and simulation of particle motion and deposition. Then examples from the literature are presented, including CFD simulation of particle deposition in human respiratory tract and particle deposition in aerosol devices. CFD simulation of particle transport and deposition may provide information that is difficult to obtain through physical experiments, and it may help reduce the number of experiments needed for device design. Due to the difficulty of describing turbulent flow and particle-eddy interaction, turbulent dispersion of particles remains one of the greatest challenges for CFD simulation. However, it is possible to take a balanced approach toward quantitative description of aerosol dispersion using CFD simulation in conjunction with empirical relations.

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Impact of energy structure adjustment on air quality: a case study in Beijing, China
Bin ZHAO, Jiayu XU, Jiming HAO
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 378-390.

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Energy consumption is a major cause of air pollution in Beijing, and the adjustment of the energy structure is of strategic importance to the reduction of carbon intensity and the improvement of air quality. In this paper, we explored the future trend of energy structure adjustment in Beijing till 2020, designed five energy scenarios focusing on the fuel substitution in power plants and heating sectors, established emission inventories, and utilized the Mesoscale Modeling System Generation 5 (MM5) and the Models-3/Community Multiscale Air Quality Model (CMAQ) to evaluate the impact of these measures on air quality. By implementing this systematic energy structure adjustment, the emissions of PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NOx, and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) will decrease distinctly by 34.0%, 53.2%, 78.3%, 47.0%, and 30.6% respectively in the most coal-intensive scenario of 2020 compared with 2005. Correspondingly, MM5-Models-3/CMAQ simulations indicate significant reduction in the concentrations of major pollutants, implying that energy structure adjustment can play an important role in improving Beijing’s air quality. By fuel substitution for power plants and heating boilers, PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NOx, and NMVOCs will be reduced further, but slightly by 1.7%, 4.5%, 11.4%, 13.5%, and 8.8% respectively in the least coal-intensive scenario. The air quality impacts of different scenarios in 2020 resemble each other, indicating that the potential of air quality improvement due to structure adjustment in power plants and heating sectors is limited. However, the CO2 emission is 10.0% lower in the least coal-intensive scenario than in the most coal-intensive one, contributing to Beijing’s ambition to build a low carbon city. Except for energy structure adjustment, it is necessary to take further measures to ensure the attainment of air quality standards.

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Single particle analysis of ambient aerosols in Shanghai during the World Exposition, 2010: two case studies
Shikang TAO, Xinning WANG, Hong CHEN, Xin YANG, Mei LI, Lei LI, Zhen ZHOU
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 391-401.

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A TSI Model 3800 aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ATOFMS) was deployed for single-particle analysis in Shanghai during the World Exposition (EXPO), 2010. Measurements on two extreme cases: polluted day (1st May) and clean day (25th September) were compared to show how meteorological conditions affected the concentration and composition of ambient aerosols. Mass spectra of 90496 and 50407 particles were analyzed respectively during the two sampling periods. The ART-2a neural network algorithm was applied to sort the collected particles. Seven major classes of particles were obtained: dust, sea salt, industrial, biomass burning, organic carbon (OC), elementary carbon (EC), and NH4-rich particles. Number concentration of ambient aerosols showed a strong anti-correlation with the boundary layer height variation. The external mixing states of aerosols were quite different during two sampling periods because of different air parcel trajectories. Number fraction of biomass burning particles (43.3%) during polluted episode was much higher than that (21.6%) of clean time. Air parcels from the East China Sea on clean day diluted local pollutant concentration and increased the portion of sea salt particle dramatically (13.3%). The large contribution of biomass burning particles in both cases might be an indication of a constant regional background of biomass burning emission. Mass spectrum analysis showed that chemical compositions and internal mixing states of almost all the particle types were more complicate during polluted episode compared with those observed in clean time. Strong nitrate signals in the mass spectra suggested that most of the particles collected on polluted day had gone through some aging processes before reaching the sampling site.

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Carbon dioxide fixation by Chlorella sp. USTB-01 with a fermentor-helical combined photobioreactor
Xuan JIA, Hai YAN, Zijing WANG, Huanju HE, Qianqian XU, Haiou WANG, Chunhua YIN, Liqin LIU
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 402-408.

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A promising microalgal strain isolated from fresh water, which can grow both autotrophically on inorganic carbon under lighting and heterotrophically on organic carbon without lighting, was identified as Chlorella sp. USTB-01 with the phylogenetic analysis based on 18S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene sequences. In the heterotrophic batch culture, more than 20.0 g·L-1 of cell dry weight concentration (DWC) of Chlorella sp. USTB-01 was obtained at day 5, and which was used directly to seed the autotrophic culture. A novel fermentor-helical combined photobioreactor was established and used to cultivate Chlorella sp. USTB-01 for the fixation of carbon dioxide (CO2). It showed that the autotrophic growth of Chlorella sp. USTB-01 in the combined photobioreactor was more effective than that in the fermentor alone and the maximum DWC of 2.5 g·L-1 was obtained at day 6. The highest CO2 fixation of 95% appeared on day 1 in the exponential growth phases of Chlorella sp. USTB-01 and 49.8% protein was found in the harvested microalgal cells.

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Preparation of hapten-specific monoclonal antibody for cadmium and its ELISA application to aqueous samples
Huan HE, Bo TANG, Cheng SUN, Shaogui YANG, Weijuan ZHENG, Zichun HUA
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 409-416.

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High-affinity and specific monoclonal antibodies against cadmium-ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) complex have been produced using the hybridoma technique. A hapten was synthesized and characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and UV-Vis. Competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for quantitative detection of cadmium in aqueous sample was developed. The monoclonal antibody with high level of binding affinity for Cd-IEDTA-BSA and high specificity for soluble Cd-EDTA complex showed less than 0.99% cross-reactivity with other 11 metals. The limit of detection was 0.10 μg·L-1, and the effective linear range was 10-1–103 μg·L-1. The intra- and inter-assay coefficient variations were 1.5%–6.3% and 3.2%–7.4%, respectively. The spike recovery in different water samples were between 98.5% and 110.3%. The detection limit of this assay was well below the allowable concentration of cadmium (3 μg·L-1), and the working range was wider than that of other methods which showed the range of 2.19–86.38 and 0–103 μg·L-1. The competitive ELISA established in this paper was sensitive and accurate in the screening of cadmium in aqueous samples. The results will lay a solid foundation for construction of an immunoassay kit for cadmium.

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Determination of selected semi-volatile organic compounds in water using automated online solid-phase extraction with large-volume injection/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
Yongtao LI, Christina L. MCCARTY, Ed J. GEORGE
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 417-425.

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A rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective analytical method was developed for the analysis of selected semi-volatile organic compounds in water. The method used an automated online solid-phase extraction technique coupled with programmed-temperature vaporization large-volume injection gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The water samples were extracted by using a fully automated mobile rack system based on x-y-z robotic techniques using syringes and disposable 96-well extraction plates. The method was validated for the analysis of 30 semi-volatile analytes in drinking water, groundwater, and surface water. For a sample volume of 10 mL, the linear calibrations ranged from 0.01 or 0.05 to 2.5μg·L-1, and the method detection limits were less than 0.1μg·L-1. For the reagent water samples fortified at 1.0μg·L-1 and 2.0?μg·L-1, the obtained mean absolute recoveries were 70%–130% with relative standard deviations of less than 20% for most analytes. For the drinking water, groundwater, and surface water samples fortified at 1.0μg·L-1, the obtained mean absolute recoveries were 50%–130% with relative standard deviations of less than 20% for most analytes. The new method demonstrated three advantages: 1) no manipulation except the fortification of surrogate standards prior to extraction; 2) significant cost reduction associated with sample collection, shipping, storage, and preparation; and 3) reduced exposure to hazardous solvents and other chemicals. As a result, this new automated method can be used as an effective approach for screening and/or compliance monitoring of selected semi-volatile organic compounds in water.

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Three-dimensional fluorescence spectral characterization of soil dissolved organic matters in the fluctuating water-level zone of Kai County, Three Gorges Reservoir
Fang FANG, Yan YANG, Jinsong GUO, Hong ZHOU, Chuan FU, Zhe LI
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 426-434.

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Three-dimensional fluorescence spectroscopy was used to investigate the fluorescent properties of soil dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the water-level-fluctuation zone (WLFZ) of Kai County, Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR). Most of the soil DOM analyzed in this study was found to contain four fluorescence peaks. Peaks A and C represent humic-like fluorescence, whereas peaks B and D represent tryptophan-like fluorescence. Peaks E and F, which represent tyrosine-like fluorescence, only appeared in certain soils. Soil humus was the main source of DOM in soil, and higher concentration of soil DOM was found in the exposed soil than submerged soil. Compared to the peaks A and B, the fluorescence intensities of peaks C and D were strongly influenced by the fluctuating water level. Analysis of fluorescence intensities of different peaks in soil DOM showed that WLFZ soil was not contaminated significantly. Soil DOM contained at least two types of humic-like fluorescence groups and two types of protein-like fluorescence groups. The proportion of the content of peak A in soil organic matter was quite stable. The soil DOM in exposed soil had relatively high humification and aromaticity, and periodic submerging and exposure of soil had an impact on the humification of soil DOM.

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A 50-year sedimentary record of heavy metals and their chemical speciations in the Shuangtaizi River estuary (China): implications for pollution and biodegradation
Baolin LIU, Ke HU, Zhenglong JIANG, Fengge QU, Xin SU
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 435-444.

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Two parallel sediment cores collected from tidal flat located in the Shuangtaizi River estuary were analyzed for heavy metal concentrations and chemical speciations. Based on the 137Cs activity profile, mean sedimentation rate at the sampling site during the past 50 years was estimated to be 1.3 cm·a-1. Correlation analyses show that almost all the metals are associated with each other, suggesting that these metals might be derived from same sources and/or affected by same geochemical processes. Influence of total organic carbon (TOC) content on the concentrations of Cr, Ni, Cu and Cd is evident. Silt and clay contents, instead of sand content, play an important role in the distribution of these metals. The dominant binding phases for most of the metals (except for Cd) are the residual. The relative decrease of the residual fraction of Cd and Pb in the upper 66 cm of the core is striking. The distribution of chemical fraction confirms that the residual fractions of these metals have a natural origin, while only the non-residual fractions of Cd and Pb increased upward the core due to pollution in the past five decades. Pollution assessment on these heavy metals based on Index of Geoaccumulation (Igeo) also demonstrates that most of the metals are unpolluted. The weak pollution as observed in the sediments is perhaps related to a local plant, the Suaeda heteroptera Kitag, which may have played a significant role in the biodegradation of these metals and the metal distribution in the estuary.

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Analysis of driving forces behind diversified carbon dioxide emission patterns in regions of the mainland of China
Xin TIAN, Hidefumi IMURA, Miao CHANG, Feng SHI, Hiroki TANIKAWA
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 445-458.

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China has large regional disparities in carbon dioxide CO2 emissions with economic development among its 31 provincial mainland regions. This paper investigates these disparities in CO2 emission patterns and identifies the factors underlying the differences. Results show that the 30 study China's mainland provinces (Tibet not included) can be divided into seven groups with three typical CO2 emission patterns. Index decomposition results indicate that changes in economic development, the industrial sector, and technology contribute far more to increased CO2 emissions than do population, energy structure, and other sectors. Close inspection reveals that different industry structures and technology contribute greatly to the differences observed in CO2 emissions between provinces with similar economic output. This study highlights the importance of region-specific industrial structure adjustment policies, especially for regions transitioning to heavy industry and for those still in the primary stages of industrialization. The potential application of a domestic carbon emissions trading system, to encourage regional investment in updated technology, is also discussed.

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Quantitative standard of eco-compensation for the water source area in the middle route of the South-to-North Water Transfer Project in China
Zhanfeng DONG, Jinnan WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 459-473.

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The Middle Route Project(MRP) of the South-to-North Water Transfer Scheme (SNWT) in China will require a very large financial expenditure to ensure the water supply and the associated water quality to northern China. An eco-compensation mechanism between the water service source areas and its beneficiaries is essential. This paper establishes an analytic framework of eco-compensation standard for the protection of the water source area, including both the calculation of eco-compensation based on opportunity cost method (OCM) and calculation of the burden sharing of eco-compensation between the water source area and the external water reception area based on the deviation square method (DSM). Taking Shiyan City, Hubei Province in China as a case study, our results show that the eco-compensation in the first-phase of MRP for the water source area in Shiyan, Hubei Province should be 1.63×1010 CNY, about four times of planned eco-construction investment budget(4.33×109 CNY). In addition, the burden sharing of eco-compensation varied greatly in terms of different methods. It would be better to integrate the results of different single-factor burden sharing methods by determining the corresponding weighting coefficient with DSM and form one unanimous consent result by the interested parties.

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Advanced nitrogen and phosphorus removal in A2O-BAF system treating low carbon-to-nitrogen ratio domestic wastewater
Jianhua WANG, Yongzhen PENG, Yongzhi CHEN
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 474-480.

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A laboratory-scale anaerobic-anoxic-aerobic process (A2O) with a small aerobic zone and a bigger anoxic zone and biologic aerated filter (A2O-BAF) system was operated to treat low carbon-to-nitrogen ratio domestic wastewater. The A2O process was employed mainly for organic matter and phosphorus removal, and for denitrification. The BAF was only used for nitrification which coupled with a settling tank Compared with a conventional A2O process, the suspended activated sludge in this A2O-BAF process contained small quantities of nitrifier, but nitrification overwhelmingly conducted in BAF. So the system successfully avoided the contradiction in sludge retention time (SRT) between nitrifying bacteria and phosphorus accumulating organisms (PAOs). Denitrifying phosphorus accumulating organisms (DPAOs) played an important role in removing up to 91% of phosphorus along with nitrogen, which indicated that the suspended activated sludge process presented a good denitrifying phosphorus removal performance. The average removal efficiency of chemical oxygen demand (COD), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), andNH4+-N were 85.56%, 92.07%, 81.24% and 98.7% respectively. The effluent quality consistently satisfied the national first level A effluent discharge standard of China. The average sludge volume index (SVI) was 85.4 mL·g-1 additionally, the volume ratio of anaerobic, anoxic and aerobic zone in A2O process was also investigated, and the results demonstrated that the optimum value was 1∶6∶2.

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Achieving biodegradability enhancement and acute biotoxicity removal through the treatment of pharmaceutical wastewater using a combined internal electrolysis and ultrasonic irradiation technology
Liang SUN, Can WANG, Min JI, Fen WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng Chin. 2011, 5 (3): 481-487.

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Actual pharmaceutical wastewater was treated using a combined ultrasonic irradiation (US) and iron/coke internal electrolysis (Fe/C) technology. A significant synergetic effect was observed, showing that ultrasonic irradiation dramatically enhanced the chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiencies by internal electrolysis. The effects of primary operating factors on COD removal were evaluated systematically. Higher ultrasonic frequency and lower pH values as well as longer reaction time were favorable to COD removal. The ratio of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and COD (B/C) of the wastewater increased from 0.21 to 0.32 after US-Fe/C treatment. An acute biotoxicity assay measuring the inhibition of bioluminescence indicated that the wastewater with overall toxicity of 4.3 mg-Zn2+·L-1 was reduced to 0.5 mg-Zn2+·L-1 after treatment. Both the raw and the treated wastewater samples were separated and identified. The types of compounds suggested that the increased biodegradability and reduced biotoxicity resulted mainly from the destruction of N,N-2 dimethyl formamide and aromatic compounds in the pharmaceutical wastewater.

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19 articles