Application of biological activated carbon to treat biogenic taste/odour compounds


PhD project to monitor the adsorptive capacity of aged granular activated carbon (GAC) for biogenic taste and odour (T&O) compounds; explore biofilm formation on GAC that leads to biological activated carbon (BAC) and measure BAC capacity for biodegradation of T&O; and develop a model to predict when GAC/BAC reach exhaustion in terms of T&O removal.

Algae are increasingly challenging the capacity of drinking water treatment plants to meet water quality guidelines due to the release of taste and odour (T&O) metabolites. GAC/BAC are often used to remove these compounds. However, several knowledge gaps remain relating to selection of carbon type, biofilm formation, and carbon aging. Furthermore, development of a model to predict adsorptive performance, time taken to reach carbon exhaustion, and breakthrough of T&O compounds would lead to major cost savings for the water industry.

Focused Research Questions:

1. What is the relative importance of adsorption and biodegradation processes for T&O removal by GAC/BAC?
2. How does structure and elemental composition of the carbon affect batch adsorption performance?
3. Why do biofilms develop on activated carbon and what are the dominant microbial functions?
4. Can we develop a predictive model of T&O removal that scales from lab to pilot plant?

Key Outcomes:

Review of T&O removal efficiency by GAC/BAC in full-scale water treatment plants (Faruqi et al, 2018)


Rafael Paulino
Rita Henderson
Bojan Tamburic
Arash Zamyadi
Richard Stuetz


University of New South Wales | Melbourne Water | WaterRA

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