A High Efficiency Magnetic Activated Sludge Reactor for Wastewater Processing
Technologies for the recycling of water are a primary goal of NASA’s advanced life support programs. Biological processes have been identified as an attractive method for wastewater processing. A fundamental new bioreactor based on a traditional activated sludge process is demonstrated that treats hygiene wastewater using magnetic iron oxide particles agglomerated with microbial cells. In this bioreactor, microbes are suspended in magnetic flocs in a wastewater medium. Instead of a traditional gravity separator used in activated sludge operations, a magnetic separator removes the microbial flocs from the outlet stream. The reactor separation operates continuously, independent of gravitational influences. The reactor has been able to simultaneously remove 98% of high levels of both nitrogenous and organic carbon impurities from the wastewater as well as achieve acceptably low levels of total suspended solids.