The variables affecting nitrification in biofilms are identified on a theoretical basis. The influence of various design and operational parameters which affect the resulting substance fluxes into and out of the biofilm and the biomass activity regarding nitrification are illustrated with the help of experimental investigations with plastic media trickling filters, rotating biological contactors and different aerated biofilters. The results of experiments with these systems in tertiary nitrification applications reveal process limitations and technical measures to enhance nitrification performance in each system. In a case study, a comparison between the different biofilm processes and activated sludge alternatives showed that biofilm systems may lead to remarkably smaller reactor volumes, but high energy consumption due to unfavorable oxygen utilization.

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