The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of a three-phase separator configuration on the performance of an upflow anaerobic sludge bed (USAB) treating wastewater from a fruit canning factory. The performances of two 30-L UASB reactors—one with a modified three-phase
separator giving a spiral flow pattern and the other with a conventional configuration—were investigated in parallel. Wastewater, with a chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration between 2000 and 7000 mg/L, was obtained from a fruit-canning factory. Based on the effluent data of the
first 100 operation days, the UASB with the three-phase separator giving spiral flow patterns yielded up to 25% lower biomass washout. It also showed better efficiencies in treating wastewater—up to 60% lower effluent COD, up to 20% higher COD percent removal, and
up to 29% higher biogas production. This work presents evidence of an improvement on the conventional physical design of a UASB.
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