Construction, start-up and operation of a continuously aerated laboratory-scale SHARON reactor in view of coupling with an Anammox reactor

  • SWH Van Hulle
  • S Van Den Broeck
  • J Maertens
  • K Villez
  • BMR Donckels
  • G Schelstraete
  • EIP Volcke
  • PA Vanrolleghem


In this study practical experiences during start-up and operation of a laboratory-scale SHARON reactor are discussed, along with the construction of the reactor. Special attention is given to the start-up in view of possible toxic effects of high nitrogen concentrations (up to 4 000 mgN·ℓ-1) on the nitrifier population and because the reactor was inoculated with sludge from an SBR reactor operated under completely different conditions. Because of these considerations, the reactor was first operated as an SBR to prevent biomass washout and to allow the selection of a strong nitrifying population. A month after the inoculation the reactor was switched to normal chemostat operation. As a result the nitrite oxidisers were washed out and only the ammonium oxidisers persisted in the reactor. In this contribution also some practical considerations concerning the operation of a continuously aerated SHARON reactor, such as mixing, evaporation and wall growth are discussed. These considerations are not trivial, since the reactor will be used for kinetic characterisation and modelling studies. Finally the performance of the SHARON reactor under different conditions is discussed in view of its coupling with an Anammox unit. Full nitrification was proven to be feasible for nitrogen loads up to 1.5 gTAN-N·ℓ-1·d-1, indicating the possibility of the SHARON process to treat highly loaded nitrogen streams. Applying different influent concentrations led to different effluent characteristics indicating the need for proper control of the SHARON reactor.

Water SA Vol.31 (3) 2005: pp.327-334

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eISSN: 0378-4738