Cold anammox for energy-positive sewage treatment: impact of temperature and organic carbon on performance and microbiota.

Post date: Tuesday, 15 May, 2018 - 17:08

Abstract of the doctoral research:

The development of mainstream partial nitritation/anammox (PN/A) processes is a crucial step towards reaching a more sustainable, energy neutral or even energy positive wastewater treatment. However, mainstream conditions e.g. low temperatures and ammonium concentrations as well as the presence of residual organic carbon can impact the kinetics in the system and disturb the balance between different (desired/undesired) bacterial groups implicated in the process, rendering it unstable and inefficient. This PhD focused on the short and long-term impact of low temperature on the performance, enrichment and adaptation of anammox bacteria (AnAOB), as well as their ability to compete with heterotrophic bacteria (HB) in the presence of organic carbon.
Short-term activity tests on different biomass types allowed to obtain more accurate modelling parameters and provided insights on factors influencing the temperature sensitivity. The operation of two lab-scale reactors, at constant (30°C) and decreasing temperature (down to 10°C), showed the long-term impact of temperature on anammox performance, microbial community dynamics and granulation. Very high removal rates were observed at 10°C due to enrichment and adaptation. Finally, the reactor influent was modified to gain new insights on the impact of slowly biodegradable organic carbon on the competition between AnAOB and HB at 30°C and 10°C. The findings from this research project show the potential of ‘cold anammox’ and provided insights that can contribute to the development of a suitable microbial resource management strategy for the implementation of mainstream PN/A applications.

More information click here

Dissertation Supervisors:

Prof. Dr. Ir. Siegfried Vlaeminck & Prof. dr. ir. Mathieu Sperandio

Event location: Coupure Links 653, Gent
Event date: Friday, 25 May, 2018 - 15:00

Kraks@dekrook: Unlimited Energy use due to New Technologies?

Post date: Thursday, 5 April, 2018 - 13:09

Dr Marjolein Vanoppen from PaInT will discuss the topic of "Energy Generation: the Power of Mixing Salt and Fresh Water" during a seminar series in the public library of Ghent entitled Kraks@DeKrook. More info and registration can be found here.

Event location: Public Library De Krook, Gent
Event date: Tuesday, 24 April, 2018 - 19:00

Combination of ion exchange and coagulation for removal of natural organic matter

Post date: Monday, 12 March, 2018 - 14:40

Dr. Klaas Schoutteten of the research group on Particle and Interfacial Technology (PaInT) explains his postdoctoral research on the use of ion exchange and coagulation for removal of natural organic matter in drinking water production processes. This research is conducted in the framework of an Interreg-2-Seas funded project DOC2C's.The video is available here.

Recently Defended PhD theses

Post date: Sunday, 11 March, 2018 - 16:30
  • Single-cell optical fingerprinting for microbial community characterization [download] (Benjamin Buysschaert, promoter Nico Boon, Bart De Gusseme)
  • Towards innovative technologies for nutrient recovery from human urine [download] (Sebastiaan Derese, promoter Arne Verliefde)
  • Surrogate-based online monitoring and control framework for trace organic contaminant removal during ozonation of secondary wastewater effluent: from lab-scale to practical application [download] (Michael Chys, promoter Stijn Van Hulle, Kristof Demeestere, Ingmar Nopens)
  • Impact of speciation on the removal and recovery of trace elements from aqueous streams, [download] (Karel Folens, promoter Gijs Du Laing and Frank Vanhaecke)
  • The interaction of bacteria with volcanic rocks on Earth and in space [download] (Bo Byloos, promoter Nico Boon, Natalie Leys and Rob Van Houdt)
  • Innovative strategies to maximize carbon and energy recovery from domestic wastewater, [download] (Cristina Cagnetta, promoter Korneel Rabaey and Arne Verliefde)
  • Production of lactic acid and derivatives from grass using mixed populations[download] (Way Cern Khor, promoter Korneel Rabaey and Han Vervaeren)
  • Advanced reduction and adsorption for trace organic contaminant removal from water, [download] (Klaas Schoutteten, promoter Arne Verliefde)

Yearly Advisory board and Showcase

Post date: Friday, 9 March, 2018 - 16:03

The yearly Advisory board and Showcase of the R2T consortium was a great succes.

Almost all (except for 2) industrial partners were present to discuss the latest developments within the Consortium both at an organizational and scientific level. This led to nice and critical interactions during the presentations, breaks and dinner, showing that the members really get to know each other.

For the partners that want to revisit the event, all seminars have been recorded and can be accesssed after log-in.

Please find below the program overview:

Welcome and event introduction

R2T: looking back and forward (advisory board; can be accessed after log-in)

  • Intro R2T & CAPTURE-water
  • Short overview per academic staff member
  • Introduction new academics
  • New Company introductions
  • Activities manager 
  • Interaction opportunities
  • Upcoming Events

Showcase presentations on various topics (can be accessed after log-in)

  • Metals
  • Water fit for Use
  • Modelling/ DSS
  • Energy & Organics
  • Waste Water Treatment of the Future
  • N(utrients)

R2T Reception + R2T researchers & Posters

Walking dinner

Event location: Coupure Links 653, Gent
Event date: Thursday, 1 February, 2018 - 13:00

Flux analysis in microbial communities

Post date: Friday, 9 March, 2018 - 15:06

You are kindly invited to the seminar given by Robbert Kleerebezem, assistant professor from TUDelft. Robbert has years of experience in biotechnology and he is going to share his opinion in the molecular techniques that are used in understanding bioprocesses.

“Using basic redox chemistry, thermodynamics, mass balances, simple kinetic expressions, and fundamental transport terms, the essence of the functional behaviour of microbial ecosystems can be captured and analyzed. I try to convey this approach from an engineering perspective and an ecological perspective. Thermodynamic state analysis of microbial ecosystems provides a firm foundation and first generalization of microbial processes and is often overlooked. “

Event location: Auditorium A1.1 formerly known as A1.095, Coupure Links 653, Gent
Event date: Monday, 12 March, 2018 - 16:00

Exopolymers & eDNA

Post date: Friday, 9 March, 2018 - 15:04

While exopolymer function across a range of environmental and clinical biofilms has been studied extensively, there is still much ambiguity regarding which exopolymers are important and how they contribute. Thomas will present a description of how they managed to assign eDNA as most fundamental cross-linking unit and hence foundation structure of the model biofilm producer and pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. By elucidating at a molecular level how eDNA was assembled, they could thus begin to address the question of how DNA transforms from the chromosomal form to that present in the biofilm matrix. While the seminar will focus on P. aeruginosa many of the principles discussed can also be applied to understanding the composition and function of matrices in other biofilms.

By Dr Thomas Seviour

Event location: Coupure Links 653, Gent
Event date: Friday, 23 March, 2018 - 11:00

Introduction to WATEC (water technology) and CBIO (Circular Bioeconomy) Research centres at Aarhus University

Post date: Friday, 9 March, 2018 - 14:48
  • Introduction to the new engineering investment at the Science and Technology faculty at Aarhus University, and establishment of the cross disciplinary centres WATEC (water technology) and CBIO (Circular Bioeconomy). (Lars DM Ottosen)
  • Centre for water technology (WATEC) research and short announcement of open positions. (Niels Peter Revsbech)
  • Ambitions and research for the new sensor technology laboratory under WATEC. (Klaus Koren)
  • Ambitions for waste water technology under WATEC and CBIO. (Lars DM Ottosen)

Lars DM Ottosen is Head of the Biological and Chemical Engineering at Aarhus University. Lars has a mixed industry and academia background. His research area is in environmental biotechnology, i.e. anaerobic digestion and biological waste water treatment.

Niels Peter Revsbech is professor at department of Bioscience, and head of the WATEC centre. Niels Peter is the pioneer of development and application of microsensors in microbial ecology, and co-founder of Unisense A/S.

Klaus Koren is head of the new sensor development laboratory under WATEC, and assistant professor at Bioscience. Klaus Koren has extended experience in optical sensor development and application from positions at Copenhagen University and University Graz, Austria.

Event location: Auditorium A2, Coupure Links 653
Event date: Wednesday, 14 March, 2018 - 09:00

Several Recorded Seminars Online

Post date: Monday, 20 November, 2017 - 16:02

Since the academic year has started several collaborators have been discussing their recent experimental results in academic seminars. Some of these seminars have been recorded and can be found in the closed section of this website. If you do not have a login (anymore) please contact me.

Kind regards,

  • Satus update of R2T and sneak preview to CAPTURE Launch

By Dr. Jan Arends

  • Isotope fractionation in biogas allows direct microbial community stability monitoring in anaerobic digestion

By Dr. Jo De Vrieze

  • Copper electrowinning from a complex electrolyte at high current densities

By Florian Verbruggen

  • Update on interreg project (IMPROVED) Integrated Mobile PROcess-water supply For an Economic Delta

By Dr. Marjolein Vanoppen

  • An electrolytic hydrogen bubbling reactor for high rate microbial electrosynthesis of acetate from CO2

By Dr. Kun Guo

  • Extraction of organics from metal-rich industrial wastewater by membrane electrolysis (Project Get-A-Met)

By Rui Gao

The future of R2T is secured

Post date: Thursday, 19 October, 2017 - 11:10

Dear everyone,

As of Oct 1st, 2017, Dr. Jan Arends took over my role as R2T manager. I loved this job that is all about connecting people and creating added value through collaboration. I am now full-time employed at the UGent spinoff company AM-TEAM, which I co-founded in January 2017. I want to thank all of our partners for the very nice collaboration and atmosphere. As AM-TEAM will apply for R2T membership, I will not be far away.

Take care,

Wim Audenaert

Dear All,

Behind the scenes I have been working along-side Wim to get to know the workings of R2T. Before taking on the role of consortium manager I have been working as a postdoctoral collaborator at CMET with a focus on microbial- and bioelectrochemical conversions for environmental purposes, for example conversion of CO2 into products. I am looking forward to this new challenge of combining the research done in the labs of the various academic partners with the interests and visions of the R2T companies.

From this spot I would like to thank Wim for his enthusiasm and commitment to the consortium and wish him good luck with his new adventure.

Looking forward to a positive interaction with you all,


Event date: Sunday, 1 October, 2017 - 01:00


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