Patent Number: 6,251,657

Title: Anaerobic biodegradation of unsaturated, saturated, aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons

Abstract: An apparatus and method for anaerobic biodegradation, bioremediation or bioprocessing of hydrocarbons dissolved in an aqueous matrix, such as wastewater, groundwater, or slurry. Dissolved alkanes (saturated hydrocarbons), alkenes (unsaturated hydrocarbons), aromatic hydrocarbons and/or halogenated hydrocarbons are metabolized or cometabolized. In one form, the invention involves introducing an aqueous stream comprising at least one dissolved aromatic hydrocarbon (such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, o-xylene, m-xylene, p-xylene, phenol, o-cresol, m-cresol, or p-cresol) and a dissolved oxide of nitrogen [such as nitrate (NO.sub.3.sup.-), nitrite (NO.sub.2.sup.-), nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous oxide (N.sub.2 O)] to a reactor, and operating said reactor under conditions that support denitrification of the aromatic hydrocarbon. Alternatively, the aqueous stream may comprise at least one alkane (such as ethane) and/or at least one alkene (such as ethene or ethylene) and biodegradation of these compounds is accomplished. In a preferred form, the aqueous stream also comprises at least one dissolved halogenated hydrocarbon (such as tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, or 1,1,1-trichloroethane) and dehalogenation of the halogenated hydrocarbon is accomplished. The reactor may be a continuous stirred tank reactor, a batch (or sequencing batch) reactor, a plug-flow reactor, a fixed-film reactor, or a pore space in an underground aquifer in situ. The reactor is operated in such a way that molecular oxygen is excluded from the space or zone in which the biodegradation is occurring and the other requirements of denitrifying bacteria are met. In some implementations, kinetic control (control of mean cell residence time) is used to enrich a denitrifying culture in the reactor.

Inventors: Hunter; Robert M. (Gallatin, MT), Stewart; Frank M. (Gallatin, MT), Darsow; Tamara (Gallatin, MT), Fogelsong; Macgregor L. (Gallatin, MT)

Assignee: YES Technologies

International Classification: C02F 9/00 (20060101); C12P 5/02 (20060101); C12P 5/00 (20060101); C02F 3/28 (20060101); C02F 3/34 (20060101); C02F 11/04 (20060101); C12P 1/04 (20060101); C12N 001/12 ()

Expiration Date: 06/26/2018