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Initial studies on the temperature-phased anaerobic biofilter process

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The temperature-phased anaerobic biofilter (TPAB) process is a new high-rate anaerobic treatment system that includes a thermophilic biofilter connected in series to a mesophilic biofilter providing for two-temperature, two-phase treatment.

Three TPAB systems with thermophilic:mesophilic reactor size ratios of 1:7, 1:3, and 1:1 were operated at system hydraulic retention times (HRTs) of 24, 36, and 48 hours at temperatures of 56°C in the thermophilic phase and 35°C in the mesophilic phase. The three TPAB systems achieved soluble and total chemical oxygen demand (COD) reductions in excess of 97% and 90%, respectively, for a synthetic milk substrate over a range of system COD loadings from 2 to 16 g COD/L/d. There was little difference in performance between the three TPAB systems based on COD reduction and methane production, making it feasible to use a smaller thermophilic first phase in the TPAB system.

At the 48-hour system HRT, the 6-hour thermophilic phase biofilter reached saturation loading at a COD load of 48 g/L/d. After further increases in organic loading, the methane production decreased in the thermophilic first phase and increased in the corresponding mesophilic second phase while levels of n-valeric and butyric acids increased significantly. It is proposed that a microbial population shift occurred in the thermophilic first phase at high organic loadings at low HRTs. Although a decrease in methane production from the thermophilic phase was observed, the performance of the overall two-stage TPAB system did not decline.

The TPAB systems were observed to outperform single-stage anaerobic filters operated at equivalent HRTs and organic loadings.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1995-11-01

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    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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