Anaerobic treatment of low-strength brewery wastewater in expanded granular sludge bed reactor

M T Kato, S Rebac, G Lettinga
Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 1999, 76 (1): 15-32
Anaerobic treatment of low-strength brewery wastewater, with influent total chemical oxygen demand (COD) (CODin) concentrations ranging from 550 to 825 mg/L, was investigated in a pilot-scale 225.5-L expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) reactor. In an experiment in which the temperature was lowered stepwise from 30 to 12 degrees C, the COD removal efficiency decreased from 73 to 35%, at organic loading rates (OLR) of 11-16.5 g COD/L/d. The applied hydraulic retention time (HRT) and liquid upflow velocity (Vup) were 1.2 h and 5.8 m/h, respectively. Under these conditions, the acidified fraction of the CODin varied from 45 to 90%. In addition to the expected drop in reactor performance, problems with sludge retention were also observed. In a subsequent experiment set at 20 degrees C, COD removal efficiencies exceeding 80% were obtained at an OLR up to 12.6 g COD/L/d, with CODin between 630 and 715 mg/L. The values of HRT and Vup applied were 2.1-1.2 h, and 4.4-7.2 m/h, respectively. The acidified fraction of the CODin was above 90%, but sludge washout was not significant. These results indicate that the EGSB potentials can be further explored for the anaerobic treatment of low-strength brewery wastewater, even at lower temperatures.

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