Quantifying the electron-donating and -accepting capacities of wastewater for evaluating and optimizing biological wastewater treatment processes

Hua-Jun Feng , Xian-Bin Ying , Chen-Yi Tang , Wei Guo , Dong-Shen Sheng , Mei-Zhen Wang


Received July 07, 2020,Revised , Accepted September 13, 2020, Available online October 08, 2020

Volume 102,2021,Pages 235-243

Biological processes have been widely used for the treatment of both domestic and industrial wastewaters. In such biological processes, pollutants are converted into pollution-free substances by microorganisms through oxidation-reduction reactions. Thus, how to quantify the internal oxidation-reduction properties wastewaters and seek out targeted countermeasures is essential to understand, operate, and optimize biological wastewater treatment systems. So far, no such approach is available yet. In this work, a novel concept of electron neutralization-based evaluation is proposed to describe the internal oxidation-reduction properties of wastewater. Pollutants in wastewater are defined as electron donor substances (EDSs) or electron acceptor substances (EASs), which could give or accept electrons, respectively. With such an electron neutralization concept, several parameters, i.e., electron residual concentration (R), economy-related index (E and Er), and economical evaluation index (Y and Yr), are defined. Then, these parameters are used to evaluate the performance and economic aspects of currently applied wastewater treatment processes and even optimize systems. Three case studies demonstrate that the proposed concept could be effectively used to reduce wastewater treatment costs, assess energy recovery, and evaluate process performance. Therefore, a new, simple, and reliable methodology is established to describe the oxidation-reduction properties of wastewater and assess the biological wastewater treatment processes.

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