Theoni Massara, PhD student at Brunel University London funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is focused on developing novel mathematical tools for the quantification of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions during the biological nutrient removal in wastewater treatment plants. N2O is a greenhouse gas of particular interest since it has a global warming potential (GWP) which is 265 times higher than the GWP of carbon dioxide (CO2) in a period of 100 years. The nitrification/denitrification bioprocesses constitute the conventional way to remove nitrogen (N) from wastewater. During the nitrification/denitrification, considerable amounts of N2O are generated leading to a rise in the atmospheric N2O concentration. Advanced biological processes for the N-removal include the nitritation/denitritation and the completely autotrophic nitrogen removal over nitrite (NO2-). From a microbial point of view, the pathways leading to the nitrous oxide generation are principally three: the pathways followed by Ammonia Oxidising Bacteria (AOB), which are the hydroxylamine (NH2OH) oxidation and the nitrifier denitrification, and the heterotrophic denitrifiers pathway.
Theoni will be joining the GENOCOV research group at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) for four months with the view to developing a mathematical (MATLAB) model combining the Activated Sludge Model (ASM) 2d for the description of phosphorus and nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment along with the AOB microbial pathways for the N2O production (i.e. the hydroxylamine pathway and the nitrifier denitrification pathway). This research is part of the European Union research program C-FOOT-CTRL, which is under the auspices of the European Union Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020.
Welcome to UAB, Theoni!!!