The hydrogen-based membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) is effective for reducing nitrate-N to N2 gas, but most wastewaters contain ammonium-N. Here, we document that an aerobic/anoxic MBfR system achieves nearly total N removal (<2 mgN/L) when the influent N is ammonium. The aerobic/anoxic MBfR couples two MBfR modules. The aerobic MBfR is supplied O2 and brings about nitrification of ammonium to nitrate or nitrite. The anoxic MBfR is supplied H2 and brings about denitrification to N2 gas. Total N removal is most strongly influenced by the O2 pressure in the aerobic module: too low O2 caused poor nitrification, while too high O2 inhibited denitrification in the anoxic module. Hydrogen pressure does not strongly affect total-N removal, and the best total-N removal occurs when the H2 and O2 pressures are similar.

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