Bioresource Technology 101 (2010) 833–835

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Short Communication

Biomass production of papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) in constructed wetland treating low-strength domestic wastewater
Thaneeya Perbangkhem a,1, Chongchin Polprasert b,*
a b

School of Environmental Engineering, Institute of Engineering, Suranaree University of Technology, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand Department of Sanitary Engineering, Faculty of Public Health Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
In this study, the pilot-scale constructed wetlands were fed with low-strength domestic wastewater to investigate the energy-capturing efficiency and plant productivity. Papyrus was a selected emergent macrophyte planted in the systems. The wastewater was intermittently fed to the systems, corresponding to the organic loading rates of 10, 16, 31, and 63 kg BOD/ha-d. With abundant sunshine in the tropical-climate area, papyrus converted solar radiation to biomass of about 2200–3100 g dry weight/m2 from the two-month period of the experiments. Furthermore, the energy contents of papyrus are 16.2, 17.2, and 16.8 MJ/kg for culms, umbels, and total above-ground parts, respectively. From the plant productivity and the energy contents of papyrus obtained from this study, the energy capturing efficiencies can be estimated to be in the range of 4.4–6.0%, which are relatively high, compared with those of other plants. Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article history: Received 31 March 2009 Received in revised form 14 August 2009 Accepted 18 August 2009 Available online 15 September 2009 Keywords: Energy-capturing efficiency Papyrus Constructed wetland Biomass productivity

1. Introduction Constructed wetland (CW) is a system engineered for treating wastewaters by using plants, soil and microorganisms, to improve the water quality and is an effective treatment system alternative where suitable land is available at low cost (Neralla et al., 2000; Vymazal, 2005). Several advantages can also be obtained from the use of CW for wastewater treatments; for examples, removal of both organic matter, use minimal energy input, etc. (Kiwango and Wolanski, 2008). The aquatic macrophyte grown in the CW system is one of the main components used for wastewater treatment. The plant itself also provides the surface areas for bacterial growth, uptakes the nutrients and add oxygen to the water (Li et al., 2008). In addition to the water quality improvement, plant productivity is one of the CW added values because the biomass obtained can be further utilized as food, medicine, paper, biofuel, etc. (Polprasert, 2007). Plant growth depends on many factors but the most important one is sunlight because the energy for growth requirement derives from sunlight through photosynthesis, in general, 1–5% of solar energy falling on a plant is converted to organic matter (Chrispeels and Sadava, 2003). The actual yield of energy in plant depends

on the product of solar input and efficiency with which the solar energy is transformed into the harvested product. Because in Thailand, there are many small communities located in the tropical area with abundant sunshine, it is appropriate from the solar energy utilization to grow plants for use of both biomass production and waste recovery and recycling. Aquatic plant that has high potential of converting solar energy into the plant productivity should be selected for plantation in CW. Papyrus is one of the most interesting one because it can grow well in the subtropical and tropical climate and is among the most productive plants of wetlands (Boar et al., 1999; Kansiime et al., 2005; Mnaya et al., 2007). Therefore, this study was carried out with the objectives: (1) to assess the plant productivity of papyrus and (2) to estimate the energy capturing efficiencies in CW fed with low-strength domestic wastewater.

2. Methods Two sets of the experimental pilot-scale CW, each with the dimensions of 1 m  3 m  1.2 m (width  length  depth), were operated to treat domestic sewage generated from dormitories and office buildings in the Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) campus. The CW units were intermittently fed with primary sewage pumped directly from the effluent weir of the primary sedimentation tank, resulting in the organic loading rates of 10, 16, 31, and 63 kg BOD/ha-d for Run No. 1, Run No. 2, Run No. 3, and Run No. 4, respectively. The experiments were carried out between

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +66 23548540. E-mail addresses: (T. Perbangkhem), (C. Polprasert). 1 Tel.: +66 17339150. 0960-8524/$ - see front matter Ó 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2009.08.062

Papyrus has higher range of energy-capturing efficiency (4.. the growth rate of the plant is lowest. 7 energy capturing effieciencies (%) 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 Run no. 2007). 2008). total suspended solid (TSS). signaling the first day of the experiment.5 100–350 0 0 0 10 0 time period (d) Fig. prior to being discharged into the sewer. (1).5 m  0. Run Plant biomass (g dry weight/m2) 2341 2359 2538 3115 Plant productivity (g dry weight/m2 d) 39. The net plant biomass and productivity including the productivity of each part of papyrus (culm and umbel) are summarized in Table 2. food and fiber processing wastes.99 14. 4 a stem of plant was randomly cut so as to determine plant height and biomass. further allowance for plant growth is useless and.26 Umbel productivity (g dry weight/m2 d) 23. Because the SUT buildings were equipped with septic tanks as a wastewater pre-treatment unit.. Fig. However.02%). in comparison with those of Thailand’s municipal sewage (Kanabkaew and Puetpaiboon. Parameter Influent concentrations (mg/L) This study COD BOD NH3 o-PO3À 4 SS 65.8–10. This plant growth has a tendency to be in the transitional phase of sigmoid curve for normal population growth rate so that the papyrus growth rate was derived to Eq. Plant cutting before the optimum period previously stated will need more unnecessary manpower to do the work.4 Typical domestic wastewater in Thailand 192–700 110–400 12–51 2. ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N). Rosillo-Calle et al. resulting in the free water surface volume of 1. Results and discussion The average concentrations of the wastewater fed to all the CW units are shown in Table 1.834 T. Before cultivating the papyrus. Outlet valve of the CW’s tank was positioned to maintain the water level of 35 cm above the bed.02% for CW as shown in Fig. García et al.04 26. the CW beds were prepared with gravel at the bottom and sandy loam at the top. Every 10 days.87 20.5 3. Energy capturing efficiencies of papyrus in each CW. effluent sampling and analyses were carried out every drainage days to determine for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).03–5.05 m3.52–6. papyrus is appropriate to use as biomass fuels which is the most suitable 140 decreasing grow th rate(g /m -d) 120 Run 1 100 80 60 40 20 0 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4 2 mt ¼ mu ð1 À eÀkt Þ ð1Þ where mt is the biomass at time (g dry weight/m2). At the beginning.1 10. determination of the optimum period of plant harvest would be one of the very significant parameters in the design and operation of CW for wastewater treatment so that associated workforces and tools can be properly provided. The decreasing growth rates of papyrus in CW.. forest residues and energy crops (Chanthunyagarn et al.03 25. the optimum period for harvesting can be found to be 41– 50 days. the opportunity for exploitation of the value-added material is lost.60 m in height above ground. their differences in various sites have been attributed to prevailing climatic conditions.91 Culm productivity (g dry weight/m2 d) 15.4–92.4 18. k is the rate constant (1/d) and t is the time (d).28 15. 1. Papyrus was selected to plant in the CW. 1998). mu is the ultimate biomass (g dry weight/m2). Perbangkhem. Table 1 The influent concentrations of the constructed wetlands and typical domestic wastewater in Thailand. Polprasert / Bioresource Technology 101 (2010) 833–835 January 2005 and March 2006 with the 2-month period for each experimental run.41–6. 2007.30 51. The results shows that this plant likes to grow in full sun so that it can capture more energy from the sun and transform into the plant production and it has a high photosynthetic and productive potential due to the presence of C4 photosynthesis. 2004.65 1 2 3 4 3 4 . Afterwards. Subsequently. Then the Thomas method was used to determine the ultimate plant biomass (mu) and rate constant (k) (Lee and Lin. 2004). From Fig.4–22. 2. Moreover. Measurements of standing biomass and aboveground productivity were made in quadrant of 0. 2008. Therefore. chemical oxygen demand (COD). At the optimum point.02 39. resulting in lower concentrations of BOD and SS. 51 -6 -2 -3 -4 1- 11 21 31 41 -5 0 culm umbel total Table 2 Biomass and primary productivity of papyrus in each constructed wetland units.5 m after the end of each experimental run. The energy capturing efficiencies of papyrus are in the range of 4...9–16. using bomb calorimeter. 1. 2. Mnaya et al. Umbels represented the higher energy-capturing efficiency parts than culms because they serve also as main photosynthetic surface.75 10. thereby increasing the cost of treatment wetland operation. in the commercial sense. energy contents of papyrus were determined. the heating values of papyrus in this study fall within a wide range of biomass materials such as field crop residues. and orthophosphate phosphorus (o-PO3À ) (Franson et al. they were cut down to 0.32 42.7–21. Accordingly. C.43 31. 3. Finally.. 2000): The above-ground biomass of the papyrus in this study was relatively lower to previous studies because of the shorter planting duration and low-strength wastewater (Kansiime et al. organic solids would be partly removed.

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