Room 1670 Beyster Building (North Campus)
Speaker: Kelly Martin, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Michigan
Title: Advancing Sustainable Water Treatment Technologies through State-of-the-Art Biofilm Modeling
Biofilms play a critical role in the next generation of sustainable water and wastewater treatment solutions. Biofilm systems treat at high rates, produce little sludge, and support specialized microorganisms. One promising technology is the hollow fiber membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR), a system based on gas-supplying membranes that also serve as a biofilm support. This unique configuration allows for bubble-less delivery of a gaseous substrate directly to the biofilm and results in unconventional biofilm behavior distinctly suitable for certain applications. Two of these applications will be presented as case studies, with computational biofilm modeling used to guide reactor and operational design. A two-dimensional, agent-based biofilm model, coupled with solution of fluid dynamics was applied to an MBfR for biological drinking water treatment. In the second study, an MBfR treated nitrogen and dissolved methane from the effluent of anaerobic treatment for domestic wastewater. A one-dimensional, numerical biofilm model was used to understand the complex interactions of potential aerobic and anoxic metabolisms, with the goal to support the most energy-efficient scheme. Broadly, this presentation will demonstrate the ability of numerical biofilm models to inform experimental design and ultimately, the development of resilient and sustainable full-scale technologies.