Faculty Project Proposal Summary

Calendar Year 2014 Program



Faculty Name & Department/School: 

Tyler Radniecki; School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering


Research Project Title:

The anaerobic treatment of FOG and ammonia in batch anaerobic digesters 


Project Overview: 

NOTE: The preferred qualification for the student on this research project is that they are a current CBEE first-year student eligible to apply for a summer Johnson Internship with the desire to remain on the OSU campus in summer 2014 to continue this research in the Radniecki laboratory. Women in engineering and minorities strongly encouraged to apply.


This project is being conducted in collaboration with the Gresham, OR wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to evaluate the feasibility of using various FOG (fats, oils and greases) sources for enhanced methane production in an anaerobic co-digestion process with TWAS (thickened waste activated sludge).  Batch anaerobic digesters will be used to determine the optimal FOG loading rates, based on biogas production, for several FOG sources collected by the Gresham WWTP.  The batch anaerobic digesters will be modeled to mimic the exact conditions found in the Gresham WWTP. 


The anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids results in the release of high concentrations of ammonia.  ANAMMOX bacteria have recently been discovered that can anaerobically oxidize ammonia to nitrogen gas by combing it with nitrate.  Recent research has suggested that nitrous oxide may play a critical role in the cultivation of ANAMMOX bacteria.  A second objective of this project will utilize anaerobic digesters to culture ANAMMOX bacteria for the removal of ammonia and nitrate.  Various concentrations of nitrous oxide will be placed in the reactors to determine if it plays a role in ANAMMOX cultivation.


What skills will students obtain in this project?

The student will learn how to create anaerobic digesters, measure biogas production and characterize wastewater composition through standard analytical techniques.  Additionally, the student will learn how to keep good lab notes, critically analyze lab data and how to follow proper lab safety protocols.


Student research tasks:

Create anaerobic digesters for the co-digestion of FOG and for the cultivation of ANAMMOX bacteria, measure biogas production and characterize wastewater composition (including ammonia and nitrite) before, during and after treatment.


Number of hours per week expected of student: 5-10


  1. Preferred Faculty Contact Information (email): tyler.radniecki@oregonstate.edu




Download student application HERE

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