A new mathematical model is presented which describes the denitrification process by dynamic material balance equations. In this approach the kinetic rate expressions of the single denitrification steps and the observed strong inhibition of nitrate on nitrite and nitrous oxide reduction are based exclusively on fundamental enzyme kinetics. This allows a prediction of the denitrification process in a wide range of wastewater-relevant nitrate concentrations. The model was successfully applied to the description of the kinetic behavior of a standardized denitrifying activated sludge system. Furthermore the experimentally investigated influence of hydrogen sulfide was quantified by extending the model with a non-competitive inhibition mechanism involving all steps of the denitrification process. The inhibitory effect was related to the free membrane-permeable hydrogen sulfide concentration. This means that the extent of its inhibition depends additionally on the pH-value. Even very low hydrogen sulfide concentrations lead to a strong inhibition of nitrous oxide reduction and therefore to a high release of nitrous oxide from wastewater treatment plants.

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