HNEI researchers investigated the performance and durability of novel carbon based biofilm supports to support active methanogenic microbial communities. Using DNA based community analysis the project verified wood derived biochar to host biofilms possessing well-balanced methanogenic microbial communities that realized high digestion rates under anaerobic conditions. HNEI researchers then investigated the performance and durability of a hybrid high rate anaerobic-aerobic digestion (HRAAD) system operated at demonstration scale in an existing wastewater treatment facility. The HRAAD system consisted of an anaerobic reactor packed with a range of materials including biochar and a second aerobic reactor, serving as a trickling filter, packed with highly porous polystyrene media. The project verified that the HRAAD system was capable of achieving an effluent equivalent with EPA discharge requirements and with energy savings of over 50% in comparison with traditional activated sludge treatment.
Point Person: Michael Cooney 
- Anaerobic Digestion of Primary Sewage Effluent , September 2014
- Labscale Evaluation of Immobilization Media , Final Report to DOE, August 21, 2014
Papers & Proceedings
- 2016, M.J. Cooney, K. Lewis, K. Harris, Q. Zhang, T. Yan, Start up performance of biochar packed bed anaerobic digesters , Journal of Water Process Engineering, Vol. 9, pp. e7–e13
- 2014, R.J. Lopez, S.R. Higgins, E. Pagaling, T. Yan, M.J. Cooney, High rate anaerobic digestion of wastewater separated from grease trap waste , Renewable Energy, Vol. 62, pp. 234–242