RF. We work with Owners, Operators and Engineers of wastewater treatment operations. We help them save money & improve
Total Nitrogen results by giving them a very easy to implement Nitrogen removal option + alternative.
The backbone of our solution is called Kenaf. It is a cellulosic biofilm and flocculation media made from the farmer grown plant Hibiscus Cannibus..
Unlike heavily engineered TN/biofilm solutions (IFAS etc), we help drive low TN for little capital investment.
RF Wastewater is an Ag-Tech + Bio-Tech company implementing easy to handle TN solutions in the worlds of Municipal and Ind wastewater.
Our core focus is assisting new and existing operations reduce Total Nitrogen, using less energy, less carbon and less Capital easily.
What Do We Do? We are a complete Total Nitrogen Reduction Partner for our wastewater customers. Our core technology is a lignocellulosic (plant based) biofilm and flocculation media for retrofitting new and existing facilities to Biofilm Reactor Systems.
Our core product is called Kenaf. We combine the Kenaf Media with a simple recapture system that is installed in your WAS system to recapture the populated Kenaf, keeping your improved microbiology in system longer. We couple these two physical components with clear process control solutions allowing you to consistently drive TN down and keep it down.
If needed, we also offer external Carbon sources, Bacteria Supplementation and extended Process Control advise to help our customers drive down TN and hold TN down.
What does Kenaf Do? Kenaf is part of a system that can improve treatment effectiveness, efficiencies and plant thru put - specifically by improving your Autotrophic microbial populations and proximity. This allows a low DO approach to Nitrification and Denitrification plus Nitritation of NH3 to NO2 and subsequent Deammonification. All that this means is we can help you drive your TN numbers down to the sub 3.0 range without plant modifications, naturally and consistently. We have experience in ENR, BNR and A Sludge systems, The Kenaf Biofilm Reactor System improves results in all.
How does it do that? Referencing the diagram below, Kenaf gives a surface for your AOB (Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria) to attach to and populate. Your AOB population becomes more effective and efficient. With this rate limiter removed or boosted, depending on how you want to look at it, you now have better transfer/conversion of NH3 to NO2. By being more efficient at delivering NH3 to the NO2 "intersection", Kenaf gives you the opportunity to operate in the low DO worlds of Denitrification and Deammonification more easily and robustly. Some people call this situation SND, Simultaneous Nitrification and Denitrification. We stay away from this description because there is more going on than just that, with Kenaf you are running a biofilm reactor system "on top" of your ENR, BNR or A. Sludge system. Any SND approaches you are having success with now will be made easier, more stable and more effective with the improved microbiology on your Kenaf.
Below are two diagrams we use to describe what is going on. The analogy to think about is how we humans launch satellites into "near" earth and "far" earth orbit. It is sort of similar with NH3, we use DO to drive NH3 off the launch pad through AOBs and NOBs into "far" Denite Orbit as NO3, Nitrate. By providing surface area for Autotrophic AOB and Annamox Bacteria to populate, and by having a solution that keeps them in your Mixed Liquor on the Kenaf, we accomplish two things. 1. We expand the Annamox Deammonification zone by having more Annamox(green) and we provide a larger/higher launch position via more AOBs. As a result you do not have to, or want to, drive the DO as Hard, as Hot or as Long. You "launch" your NH3 by gently rolling on DO, just enough to get it out of the NH3 zone (tan) and up into the Annamox zone (green). Done perfectly, this can theoretically save 67% of your electricity and eliminate carbon feeds. In the real world, when we shoot for this balance we are able to nitrify NH3 leaving very low residual DO in the "Denite Orbit", making denitrification in your anoxic zones much more efficient. From a carbon perspective: 1. Since you can run a lower SRT that requires less food, (food to mass ratios) there may be more left over for Denitrification. 2. Since you are running a "cooler" DO, you do not "burn off" as much carbon during Nitrification leaving it for Denitrification in your anoxic zones. Of course, everything is a balance, we expand your options. For our customers who need to be at ENR levels we offer Carbon addition solutions to polish off the rest of your Nitrates.
Below is a great shot showing biofilms on Kenaf.
Below is an extended series of images using various forms of microscopy to explain what Kenaf does. Pictures speak a 1000 words. Just scroll down for the complete tour.
Immediately below is a micrograph showing the natural porosity of Kenaf. Note the 50.0um scale = 50 microns. We claim Kenaf has 7.4 square meters of surface area per gram (BET method NCSU Oct 2011) to grow microbes upon. A gram is the size of the tip of your finger. A liter holds 122 grams of Kenaf. A cubic meter of Kenaf has 902,800 square meters of surface area. A cubic foot of Kenaf is 4 football fields of surface area.
Below, another micrograph showing the natural pores of our Kenaf Media. Lots of surface area for microbes to colonize, the backbone of your successful biofilm retrofit. It provides surface area for attached growth of biofilm and encourages robust floc situations. Kenaf is PH Neutral, chemically benign in wastewater, no reactions what-so-ever. It only promotes attached growth.
Below is a captured FISH image of Annamox Bacteria, pink, populating a piece of Kenaf. Note the blue, that is dapi staining, showing other microbes are there too, but are not Annamox in this case. A cross section of AOBs, NOBs, and Annamox populations grow on Kenaf, they live next to each other and work in harmony as an efficient biofilm community.
Below is a FISH image capturing the AOB Nitrosospira On Kenaf. We know key microbes like to call Kenaf home. Note the blue indicating other microbes are around too other than the Nitrosospira.
Below, (hunk to the right) a mature, populated Kenaf and (left) fresh, unpopulated Kenaf. It is a florescent microscopy image of a sample of Kenaf enhanced mixed liquor from a full scale 2.0 mgd oxidation ditch. When you dye microbes with dye FM 1-43 and then blast them with fluorescent light, the living microbes "light up", they glow as bright spots. The cool thing about this image is it captures three things at once. It shows the normal microbe colonies, the "stars", it shows a mature piece of Kenaf, to the right, the one glowing, with a healthy biofilm, and a fresh piece of Kenaf, (bottom left) that is yet to grow its colony of Autotrophs. From a size perspective, this is at 10x /100 magnification, it is one tiny part of a tiny drop, the size of a drop that is the amount you put on a microscope slide... Imagine, every drop of mixed liquor in your reactor has at least one of these robust Autotrophic biofilm situations. Key point, the real work horses are Kenaf shards, they form the backbone for your biofilms and become the cornerstone of robust floc. Their size is 25 x 45 microns on average.
-Below are 200 magnification (20x) shots from the microscope showing more detail of the above.
Below shots were taken by one of our operators via his simple lab microscopy set up. It is showing fresh/new uncolonized Kenaf to the left and colonized kenaf with a thin biofilm formed by microbe colonies to the right.
Below, a shot from a leading Expert who has taken an interest in the Kenaf Biofilm Reactor System. In this image, he is showing how Kenaf promotes and helps form the backbone of Floc. Kenaf is 100% biodegradable, it has 35% less lignin than other plants, meaning it is mostly cellulose. Cellulose only breaks down in an anaerobic situation, so, Kenaf does not apply a BOD load to your mixed liquor but is does have a slow release of COD at the very center of your floc that is helpful for denitrification. Kenaf is chemically benign in your system, it only adds nothing but surface area.
Below, a robust floc with Kenaf at the center. Wide view of healthy floc around Kenaf.
Below, close up shots by one of our operators showing biofilm growth on Kenaf.
Below, more close ups of biofilm on Kenaf in mixed liquor. Shot taken by an operator.
Below is the proof. With each operator, we can "look inside" his/her floc/biofilm and see via a DNA identification method called FISH (Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization) which microbes they actually have and what changes in the population Kenaf is really making. FISH peels back the top of the "Black Box" and lets everyone see clearly what is really there. We do a before, during and after series of FISH tests on your Mixed Liquor. Together we get to watch the changes. An interesting point, we intentionally survey the "non-Kenaf" floc. We want to know the impact on the surrounding Mixed Liquor. We know the microbes are growing on the Kenaf - but what is important is the impact on your MLSS as a whole.
Below. Another Example of A FISH image showing targeted DNA proof of microbe populations. (Annamox Micro Colonies here)
"A more stable reliable mixed liquor balance that results in a more balanced system."
"Great nitrification/denitrification results…"
"Greater through put… clarifiers are settling faster."
“ with ASK I just have more flexibility, more cushion, it allows me to operate further from the edge…”
"... I have skipped 2 sludge hauls."
"... I don't know what ya'll are doing but my belt press has never worked so well."
"... as you said, my Filamentous went away when the biofilms formed on the Kenaf."
Link to Materials Data Safety Sheet - MDSS
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