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Monitoring the Role of Acetoclasts in Anaerobic Digestion: Activity and Capacity

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Understanding anaerobic digester stability is crucial for wastewater treatment plants interested in increasing solids loading rates. Acetoclastic methanogens have often been seen as key to digester stability. Current methods to characterize the digester stability cannot identify digesters on the verge of failure and cannot determine the digestion capacity. This paper develops a batch bottle test assay to measure digester stability by measuring the maximum acetoclastic methane production rate (Vmax,ac). The Vmax,ac method was used to monitor full- and lab-scale digesters throughout upset conditions. It was found that the Vmax,ac in combination with acetate concentrations was an effective digestion monitoring tool. The Vmax,ac of several lab- and full-scale digesters was determined. Thermophilic, first stage and short SRT digesters generally had a greater Vmax,ac than mesophilic, second stage or long SRT digesters. The ratio of the Vmax,ac to the plant acetoclastic methane production rate (Vplant,ac), termed the Acetate Capacity Number (ACN), is a measure of the digestion excess capacity. The ACN was less than 1 during digestion upsets. Monod modeling is used to predict Vmax,ac and ACN for mesophilic and thermophilic digestion and for staged digesters.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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