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Low-energy treatment of colourant wastes using sponge biofilters for the personal care product industry

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Zia Shaikh, Dr Andrew Zealand, Dr Jan DolfingORCiD, Dr Cesar Mota, Professor David GrahamORCiD


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Four trickling biofilter designs were assessed as low-energy alternatives to aerobic activated sludge (AS) for the treatment of personal care product industry wastes. The designs included partially submerged packed-media and sponge reactors with and without active aeration. Partial submergence was used to reduce active aeration needs. Simulated colourant wastes (up to COD=12,480mg/L, TN=128mg/L) were treated for 201days, including wastes with elevated oxidant levels. COD and TN removal efficiencies were always >79% and >30% (even without aeration). However, aerated sponge reactors consistently had the highest removal efficiencies, especially for TN (∼60%), and were most tolerant of elevated oxidants. This study shows sponge biofilters have great potential for treating colourant wastes because they achieve high treatment efficiencies and reduce energy use by >40% relative to AS systems.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ahammad SZ, Zealand A, Dolfing J, Mota C, Armstrong DV, Graham DW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Bioresource Technology

Year: 2013

Volume: 129

Pages: 634-638

Print publication date: 20/12/2012

ISSN (print): 0960-8524

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2976

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.12.083


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Funder referenceFunder name
218305European Commission, Marie Curie Action project ENERMIN