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Nitrate and Selenate Microbial Reduction in the Membrane Biofilm Reactor for Artificial Mining Wastewater

Description

Nitrate (NO3- ) and selenate (SeO42-) are common contaminants found in mining wastewater. Biological treatment has proved successful using bacteria capable of respiring NO3- into nitrogen gas and SeO42- into Se°. The Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR) utilizes biofilm communities

Nitrate (NO3- ) and selenate (SeO42-) are common contaminants found in mining wastewater. Biological treatment has proved successful using bacteria capable of respiring NO3- into nitrogen gas and SeO42- into Se°. The Membrane Biofilm Reactor (MBfR) utilizes biofilm communities on the surface of hollow-fiber membranes to transform oxidized water contaminants into innocuous reduced products. For this project, I set up two MBfRs in a lead and lag configuration to reduce NO3- [input at ~40-45 mg NO3-N/L] and SeO42- [0.62 mg/L], while avoiding sulfate (SO42-) [~1600-1660 mg/L] reduction. Over the course of three experimental phases, I controlled two operating conditions: the applied hydrogen pressure and the total electron acceptor loading. NO3- in the lead MBfR showed average reductions of 50%, 94%, and 91% for phases I, II, and III, respectively. In the lag MBfR, NO3- was reduced by 40%, 96%, and 100% for phases I, II, and III. NO2- was formed in Stage I when NO3- was not reduced completely; nevertheless NO2- accumulation was absent for the remainder of operation. In the lead MBfR, SeO42- was reduced by 65%, 87%, and 50% for phases I, II, and III. In the lag MBfR, SeO42- was reduced 60%, 27%, and 23% for phases I, II, and III. SO42- was not reduced in either MBfR. Biofilm communities were composed of denitrifying bacteria Rhodocyclales and Burkholderiales, Dechloromonas along with the well-known SeO42--reducing Thauera were abundant genera in the biofilm communities. Although SO42- reduction was suppressed, sulfate-reducing bacteria were present in the biofilm. To optimize competition for electron donor and space in the biofilm, optimal operational conditions were hydrogen pressures of 26 and 7 psig and total electron acceptor loading of 3.8 and 3.4 g H2/m2 day for the lead and lag MBfR, respectively.

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2016-05

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Characterizing Buffers to Maximize Peroxide Production in the Cathode Chamber of Microbial Fuel Cells

Description

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) facilitate the conversion of organic matter to electrical current to make the total energy in black water treatment neutral or positive and produce hydrogen peroxide to assist the reuse of gray water. This research focuses on

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) facilitate the conversion of organic matter to electrical current to make the total energy in black water treatment neutral or positive and produce hydrogen peroxide to assist the reuse of gray water. This research focuses on wastewater treatment at the U.S. military forward operating bases (FOBs). FOBs experience significant challenges with their wastewater treatment due to their isolation and dangers in transporting waste water and fresh water to and from the bases. Even though it is theoretically favorable to produce power in a MFC while treating black water, producing H2O2 is more useful and practical because it is a powerful cleaning agent that can reduce odor, disinfect, and aid in the treatment of gray water. Various acid forms of buffers were tested in the anode and cathode chamber to determine if the pH would lower in the cathode chamber while maintaining H2O2 efficiency, as well as to determine ion diffusion from the anode to the cathode via the membrane. For the catholyte experiments, phosphate and bicarbonate were tested as buffers while sodium chloride was the control. These experiments determined that the two buffers did not lower the pH. It was seen that the phosphate buffer reduced the H2O2 efficiency significantly while still staying at a high pH, while the bicarbonate buffer had the same efficiency as the NaCl control. For the anolyte experiments, it was shown that there was no diffusion of the buffers or MFC media across the membrane that would cause a decrease in the H2O2 production efficiency.

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2016-05

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Continuous Hydrogen Peroxide Production using Microbial Electrochemical Cells

Description

Alternative ion exchange membranes for implementation in a peroxide production microbial electrochemical cel (PP-MEC) are explored through membrane stability tests with NaCl electrolyte and stabilizer EDTA at varying operational pHs. PP-MEC performance parameters \u2014 H2O2 concentration, current density, coulombic efficiency

Alternative ion exchange membranes for implementation in a peroxide production microbial electrochemical cel (PP-MEC) are explored through membrane stability tests with NaCl electrolyte and stabilizer EDTA at varying operational pHs. PP-MEC performance parameters \u2014 H2O2 concentration, current density, coulombic efficiency and power input required \u2014 are optimized over a 7 month continuous operation period based on their response to changes in HRT, EDTA concentration, air flow rate and electrolyte. I found that EDTA was compatible for use with the membranes. I also determined that AMI membranes were preferable to CMI and FAA because it was consistently stable and maintained its structural integrity. Still, I suggest testing more membranes because the AMI degraded in continuous operation. The PP-MEC produced up to 0.38 wt% H2O2, enough to perform water treatment through the Fenton process and significantly greater than the 0.13 wt% batch PP-MEC tests by previous researchers. It ran at > 0.20 W-hr/g H2O2 power input, ~ three orders of magnitude less than what is required for the anthraquinone process. I recommend high HRT and EDTA concentration while running the PP- MEC to increase H2O2 concentration, but low HRT and low EDTA concentration to decrease power input required. I recommend NaCl electrolyte but suggest testing new electrolytes that may control pH without degrading H2O2. I determined that air flow rate has no effect on PP-MEC operation. These recommendations should optimize PP-MEC operation based on its application.

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2016-05

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A Stability Study of the MOF-5 Membrane

Description

Within recent years, metal-organic frameworks, or MOF’s, have gained a lot of attention in the materials research community. These micro-porous materials are constructed of a metal oxide core and organic linkers, and have a wide-variety of applications due to their

Within recent years, metal-organic frameworks, or MOF’s, have gained a lot of attention in the materials research community. These micro-porous materials are constructed of a metal oxide core and organic linkers, and have a wide-variety of applications due to their extensive material characteristic possibilities. The focus of this study is the MOF-5 material, specifically its chemical stability in air. The MOF-5 material has a large pore size of 8 Å, and aperture sizes of 15 and 12 Å. The pore size, pore functionality, and physically stable structure makes MOF-5 a desirable material. MOF-5 holds applications in gas/liquid separation, catalysis, and gas storage. The main problem with the MOF-5 material, however, is its instability in atmospheric air. This inherent instability is due to the water in air binding to the zinc-oxide core, effectively changing the material and its structure. Because of this material weakness, the MOF-5 material is difficult to be utilized in industrial applications. Through the research efforts proposed by this study, the stability of the MOF-5 powder and membrane were studied. MOF-5 powder and a MOF-5 membrane were synthesized and characterized using XRD analysis. In an attempt to improve the stability of MOF-5 in air, methyl groups were added to the organic linker in order to hinder the interaction of water with the Zn4O core. This was done by replacing the terepthalic acid organic linker with 2,5-dimethyl terephthalic acid in the powder and membrane synthesis steps. The methyl-modified MOF-5 powder was found to be stable after several days of exposure to air while the MOF-5 powder exhibited significant crystalline change. The methyl-modified membrane was found to be unstable when synthesized using the same procedure as the MOF-5 membrane.

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2016-05

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Bi-phase Synthesis of the Zirconium Metal-Organic Framework, UiO-66

Description

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a new set of porous materials comprised of metals or metal clusters bonded together in a coordination system by organic linkers. They are becoming popular for gas separations due to their abilities to be tailored toward

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a new set of porous materials comprised of metals or metal clusters bonded together in a coordination system by organic linkers. They are becoming popular for gas separations due to their abilities to be tailored toward specific applications. Zirconium MOFs in particular are known for their high stability under standard temperature and pressure due to the strength of the Zirconium-Oxygen coordination bond. However, the acid modulator needed to ensure long range order of the product also prevents complete linker deprotonation. This leads to a powder product that cannot easily be incorporated into continuous MOF membranes. This study therefore implemented a new bi-phase synthesis technique with a deprotonating agent to achieve intergrowth in UiO-66 membranes. Crystal intergrowth will allow for effective gas separations and future permeation testing. During experimentation, successful intergrown UiO-66 membranes were synthesized and characterized. The degree of intergrowth and crystal orientations varied with changing deprotonating agent concentration, modulator concentration, and ligand:modulator ratios. Further studies will focus on achieving the same results on porous substrates.

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2016-12

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A Sustainable Approach to Wastewater Treatment Using Microbial Fuel Cells with Peroxide Production

Description

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) promote the sustainable conversion of organic matter in black water to electrical current, enabling the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) while making waste water treatment energy neutral or positive. H2O2 is useful in remote locations such

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) promote the sustainable conversion of organic matter in black water to electrical current, enabling the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) while making waste water treatment energy neutral or positive. H2O2 is useful in remote locations such as U.S. military forward operating bases (FOBs) for on-site tertiary water treatment or as a medical disinfectant, among many other uses. Various carbon-based catalysts and binders for use at the cathode of a an MFC for H2O2 production are explored using linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) and rotating ring-disk electrode (RRDE) techniques. The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode has slow kinetics at conditions present in the MFC, making it important to find a catalyst type and loading which promote a 2e- (rather than 4e-) reaction to maximize H2O2 formation. Using LSV methods, I compared the cathodic overpotentials associated with graphite and Vulcan carbon catalysts as well as Nafion and AS-4 binders. Vulcan carbon catalyst with Nafion binder produced the lowest overpotentials of any binder/catalyst combinations. Additionally, I determined that pH control may be required at the cathode due to large potential losses caused by hydroxide (OH-) concentration gradients. Furthermore, RRDE tests indicate that Vulcan carbon catalyst with a Nafion binder has a higher H2O2 production efficiency at lower catalyst loadings, but the trade-off is a greater potential loss due to higher activation energy. Therefore, an intermediate catalyst loading of 0.5 mg/cm2 Vulcan carbon with Nafion binder is recommended for the final MFC design. The chosen catalyst, binder, and loading will maximize H2O2 production, optimize MFC performance, and minimize the need for additional energy input into the system.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Narcotics Consumption Trends at a Southwestern U.S. University Campus in 2017-2018 Tracked By Wastewater-Based Epidemiology

Description

Current methods measuring the consumption of prescription and illicit drugs are often hampered by innate limitations, the data is slow and often restricted, which can impact the relevance and robustness of the associated data. Here, wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) was applied

Current methods measuring the consumption of prescription and illicit drugs are often hampered by innate limitations, the data is slow and often restricted, which can impact the relevance and robustness of the associated data. Here, wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) was applied as an alternative metric to measure trends in the consumption of twelve narcotics within a collegiate setting from January 2018 to May 2018 at a Southwestern U.S. university. The present follow-up study was designed to identify potential changes in the consumption patterns of prescription and illicit drugs as the academic year progressed. Samples were collected from two sites that capture nearly 100% of campus-generated wastewater. Seven consecutive 24-hour composite raw wastewater samples were collected each month (n = 68) from both locations. The study identified the average consumption of select narcotics, in units of mg/day/1000 persons in the following order: cocaine (528 ± 266), heroin (404 ± 315), methylphenidate (343 ± 396), amphetamine (308 ±105), ecstasy (MDMA; 114 ± 198), oxycodone (57 ± 28), methadone (58 ± 73), and codeine (84 ± 40). The consumption of oxycodone, methadone, heroin, and cocaine were identified as statistically lower in the Spring 2018 semester compared to the Fall 2017. Universities may need to increase drug education for the fall semester to lower the consumption of drugs in that semester. Data from this research encompasses both human health and the built environment by evaluating public health through collection of municipal wastewater, allowing public health officials rapid and robust narcotic consumption data while maintaining the anonymity of the students, faculty, and staff.

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2020-05