"This project aims to develop a natural pyrrhotite simultaneous nitrogen and phosphorus removal (PSNOP) biofilter technology for treatment of wastewater lacking organic matter. In PSNOP biofilters, natural pyrrhotite particles are used as the biofilm carrier. By seeding the PSNOP biofilters with anaerobic sludge, sulfur autotrophic denitrifying bacteria biofilms will be grown. Sulfur autotrophic denitrifying bacteria will utilize pyrrhotite as the electron donor to reduce nitrate to nitrogen gas; simultaneously, iron and hydroxide ions generated during autotrophic denitrification will remove phosphorus via chemical precipitation and coagulation. The main research contents will include: (1) to investigate the engineering aspects of PSNOP biofilters in nitrogen and phosphorus removals from synthetic and real wastewaters; and (2) to analyze the mechanisms by examining the ecological structure in biofilms, oxidation of pyrrhotite, and denitrification and phosphorus precipitation kinetics. The applicant is a highly experienced researcher and develops the PSNOP idea from his experience in sulfur-based autotrophic denitrification and environmental mineralogy. With genuine mobility, he will transfer knowledge to the host group and the Europe. Being highly multidisciplinary, this project will: (1) generate a novel environmental technology which has a commercialization potential, and lead to fundamental understanding of sulfur autotrophic denitrification and biofilms, all resulting in increasing European competitiveness; (2) attract a top-class researcher active in a third country and increase the research excellence and multidisciplinary activities at the Community; (3) create long-term collaborations and mutually beneficial co-operation between research institutes in Europe and China; and (4) benefit the applicant's research career by training him as an independent researcher with specialized facilities, advanced techniques and European research culture."
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