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Modeling and analysis of biofilms formation and evolution in wastewater treatment

Fatih Özcan

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7 Aralık 2008
Modeling and Analysis of Biofilms Formation and Evolution in Wastewater Treatment Processes using Multi-Agent Systems

Laurent Lardon, Jean-Philippe Steyer, Nicolas Bernet1, Christophe Le Page

Biofilms are complex but omnipresent and industrially important structures. Many studies were
devoted to build mathematical models for biofilm analysis but most of them were based on classical
continuous approaches. On the other side, only very few studies were directly based on the functional
mechanisms to obtain virtual systems which mimic the descriptive observations and allow to predict the state
of a biofilm and its possible evolution. This paper will present a non-classical approach based on multi-agent
systems for the analysis of biofilm formation. This model shows the spatial repartition of biomass within the
biofilm and the impact of the biofilm activity on its environment. Many kind of biofilms can be simulated
with the model ; it has been qualitatively validated with the case of the biofilm of an anaerobic wastewater
treatment plant. The biomass is modeled by virtual agents that represent micro-colonies of identical bacteria.
Each agent follows a mass balance law while its growth is described by a Monod law and its detachment is
calculated as a function of its depth in the biofilm and of the level of hydrodynamic forces. The agents
interact then with each other to find equilibrium between density and spatial growth. The diffusion-reaction
problem has been solved in two dimensions by the Alternating Directions Implicit method. Several
simulations are performed to analyze influence of characteristics of the influent liquid phase, for the
molecules diffusion in the biofilm and for the biochemical reaction.

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