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Completely Stirred Tank Reactor Behavior in an Unmixed Anaerobic Digester: The Induced Bed Reactor

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The induced bed reactor (IBR) was developed to apply high-rate anaerobic digestion techniques to high suspended solids substrates (6 to 12% total solids). This technology has been implemented at multiple full-scale installations in the United States and Canada. Residence time distribution studies for 58-L laboratory-scale reactors operated at a 3.8-day hydraulic retention time were conducted at 35, 45, and 55° C under control and active digestion conditions. Rhodamine WT and lithium ion were used as tracers. The results show that the IBR most closely approximated completely stirred tank reactor behavior when operated under the study conditions. Mixing was likely a result of a (1) combination of energy inputs from thermal gradients induced by heat flux through the reactors, and (2) shear induced by gas evolution in the sludge bed.
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Keywords: Rhodamine WT; anaerobic digestion; bioenergy; biogas; biosolids; induced bed reactor (IBR); lithium; sludge; tracer

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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