Aerobic granular sludge technology has great potential for the treatment of petroleum refinery wastewater. However, strategies to shorten the granulation time and improvement the stability still need to be developed. In this work, biochar was prepared from waste petroleum activated sludge (biochar-WPS) and used in a sequencing batch reactor for the treatment of petroleum refinery wastewater. Biochar-WPS presented the surface area of 229.77 m2/g, pore volume of 0.28 cm3/g, H/C and O/C atomic ratios of 0.42 and 0.21, respectively. The porous structure and a high degree of hydrophilicity were found to facilitate microbial colonization and adhesion as well as particle aggregation. Application of biochar-WPS resulted in the formation of more substantial and stable aerobic granules (~ 66% of granules > 0.46 mm diameter) 15 days earlier compared with the control. The addition of biochar-WPS enhanced the average removal efficiency of chemical organic demand (~ 3%), oil (~ 4%) and total nitrogen (~ 10%) over the control. Increased microbial richness and diversity were observed within the formed granules and had an increased (~ 4%) proportion of denitrifying bacteria. These results indicate that an aerobic granulation mechanism using biochar-WPS is a feasible option for the treatment of petroleum refinery wastewater.
- Denitrifying bacteria
- Granular sludge
- Petroleum activated sludge
- Petroleum refinery wastewater