Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Laura Piai

Date: 05 February 2021
Time: 13:30 - 15:00
Location: Auditorium of the university, Generaal Foulkesweg 1, Wageningen

Dissertation title: 

Micropollutants removal with activated carbon: adsorption and regeneration by biodegradation

Group: Environmental Technology, Wageningen University
Promotor: prof. dr ir A van der Wal
Co-promotor: dr ir AAM Langenhoff


The presence of micropollutants in surface water is a potential threat for the production of high quality and safe drinking water. Adsorption of micropollutants onto granular activated carbon (GAC) in fixed-bed filters is often applied as a polishing step in the production of drinking water. Nevertheless, GAC needs periodic reactivation in costly and energy intense processes. GAC also acts as a carrier material for biofilm, hence biodegradation can be an additional removal mechanism for micropollutants in GAC filters. This thesis explores the potential of using microbial degradation of micropollutants to regenerate GAC adsorption capacity and reduce the need for thermal reactivation. To achieve this, the adsorbability and biodegradability of a selection of micropollutants was assessed. Furthermore, adsorption, biodegradation and consequent GAC bioregeneration were studied in more detail using melamine as a model micropollutant.

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