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Dairy Industry Effluents Treatment

Anaerobic Treatment of Whey in Stirred Batch Reactor

Abdulrzzak Alturkmani, Dr. Eng., Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest (Sanitary Engineering and
Water Protection Department), Romania 2007. E-mail:

1. Introduction It has been known since 1830 that milk contains two
types of protein which can be separated by acidification
The dairy industry is characterized by the multitude of to pH 4.6. The proteins insoluble at pH 4.6 are called
products and therefore production lines. Plants can have caseins and represent ≈ 78% of the total nitrogen in
as few as one or two production lines or all of them bovine milk; the soluble proteins are called whey or
(pasteurized milk, cheese, butter, etc.). Service and serum proteins (Gerrit, 2003).
ancillary units provide water and energy requirements as Lactose is the principal carbohydrate in the milks of all
well as maintenance, storage, packaging, testing and mammals; non-mammalian sources are very rare. Milk
analysis needs. Because of the nature of milk and milk contains only trace amounts of other sugars, including
products, which are susceptible to microbial spoilage, glucose (50 mg/l), fructose, glucosamine, etc.
equipment is characterized by designs which facilitate
hygienic operation, easy cleaning and sterilization. 3. Dairy Processing
While many older plants use open equipment and batch
processing, modern dairy food plants used closed The dairy industry is divided into two main
systems operated continuously for periods up to 24 production areas:
hours. Shut down for cleaning is generally required at 1- The primary production of milk on farms-the keeping
least once per day. of cows (and other animals such as goats, sheep etc.) for
the production of milk for human consumption;
2. Milk 2- The processing of milk with the objective of
extending its saleable life. This objective is typically
Milk is the nutrient fluid secreted by the mammary achieved by:
glands of female mammals (including monotremes). The (a) heat treatment to ensure that milk is safe for human
female ability to produce milk is one of the defining consumption and has an extended keeping quality, and
characteristics of mammals. It provides the primary (b) preparing a variety of dairy products in a semi-
source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to dehydrated or dehydrated form (butter, hard cheese and
digest more diverse foods. The early lactation milk is milk powders), which can be stored.
known as colostrum, and carries the mother's antibodies Dairy processing occurs world-wide; however the
to the baby. It can reduce the risk of many diseases in structure of the industry varies from country to country.
both the mother and baby. Milk from domesticated In less developed countries, milk is generally sold
animals has been used by humans since at least 8000 BC. directly to the public, but in major milk producing
Although sheep and goats were the first domesticated countries most milk is sold on a wholesale basis. In
dairy animals, because they are more easily managed Ireland and Australia, for example, many of the large-
than cattle, but now the cattle are the dominant dairy scale processors are owned by the farmers as co-
animals. operatives, while in the United States individual
Total recorded world milk production is ≈ 600 mil contracts are agreed between farmers and processors.
tonnes per annum, of which ≈ 85% is bovine, 11% is Dairy processing industries in the major dairy
buffalo and 2% each is from sheep and goats (Gerrit, producing countries have undergone rationalisation, with
2003). The proportions of total world milk production a trend towards fewer but larger plants operated by
used for the principal dairy products are: liquid fewer people. As a result, in the United States, Europe,
(beverage) milk, ≈ 39%; cheese, ≈ 33%; butter, ≈ 32%; Australia and New Zealand most dairy processing plants
whole milk powder, ≈6%; skimmed milk powder, ≈ 9%; are quite large. Plants producing market milk and
concentrated milk products, ≈ 2%; fermented milk products with short shelf life, such as yogurts, creams
products, ≈ 2%; casein, ≈ 2%; and infant formulae, ≈ and soft cheeses, tend to be located on the fringe of
0.3%. urban centres close to consumer markets. Plants
Milk is a very complex liquid consisting of over 100,000 manufacturing items with longer shelf life, such as
different molecules. The gross composition of milk is butter, milk powders, cheese and whey powders, tend to
defined as the fat, protein, lactose, ash, and total solids be located in rural areas closer to the milk supply.
content. For cow's milk the gross composition is 4.1%
fat; 3.6% protein; 4.9% lactose; 0.7% miscellaneous 3.1 Production of pasteurized and UHT milk
components including minerals, vitamins, and gases; and The main operations for producing the pasteurized
the balance in water (Hui, Y. K., 1993). The fat in milk and ultra high temperature (UHT) milks include:
is comprised mainly of triglycerides containing a wide * Receiving and testing raw milk: Raw milk is received
range of fatty acids, which in turn contain a relatively from the collection centers which are either privately
high proportion of short-chain and saturated fatty acids. owned or government owned (public sector).

Milk is tested for quality by the facility lab, which
measures the following parameters: fat content, solid
content, presence of preservatives (formaldehyde). The
price of received milk is determined according to the
measured quality and consequently reduced for lower fat
or protein content. Milk is rejected if formaldehyde is
* Straining: The accepted milk is then passed through
strainers then to a volume-measuring device for
quantification. Milk is then cooled to 6-8 ْC and stored in
storage tanks, some for cow milk and others for buffalo
* Pasteurization: Milk is heated in two stages, first from
7 to 65 ْC, and then from 65 to 80 ْC. It is kept at 80 ْC
for 15 sec, and then cooled to 4-6 ْC. The heating and
cooling processes are applied to ensure that most
commonly present bacteria are killed and accordingly
guarantee public safety. Fig. 1 Principal stages of cheese-making process
* UHT milk: Pasteurized milk is sterilized by raising the (Smith, 1995)
temperature to 135–150 ْC for 4 seconds (Ultra High
Temperature, UHT). Milk is then homogenized by 3.3 Dairy Processing Effluents
reducing the size of fat globules to prevent separation of The volume, concentration, and composition of the
cream on the surface. effluents arising in a dairy plant are dependent on the
* Packaging: Milk is introduced in an automatic filling type of product being processed, the production
machine that usually used polyethylene bags. program, operating methods, design of the processing
plant, the degree of water management being applied,
3.2 Cheese and subsequently the amount of water being conserved.
Cheese is one of mankind's oldest foodstuffs. It is Dairy wastewater may be divided into three major
nutritious. There are at least three constants in categories:
cheesemaking: milk, coagulant, and culture. By
introducing heating and salting steps in cheesemaking, a 1- Processing waters, which include water used in the
potential for numerous varieties has been realized. cooling and heating processes. These effluents are
On a global scale, 30% of all milk is used for cheese; the normally free of pollutants and can with minimum
proportion is about 40% in North America and about treatment be reused or just discharged into the storm
50% in the European Union (Fox. P. F, 1998). Although water system.
traditional cheeses have a rather high fat content, they 2- Cleaning wastewaters emanate mainly from the
are rich sources of protein and in most cases of calcium cleaning of equipment that has been in contact with milk
and phosphorus and have anticarigenic properties; some or milk products, spillage of milk and milk products,
typical compositional data are presented in Table 1. whey, pressings and brines, CIP cleaning options, and
There are at least 1000 named cheese varieties, most of waters resulting from equipment malfunctions and even
which have very limited production (Fox. P. F, 1998). operational errors.
The principal families are Cheddar, Dutch, Swiss and 3- Sanitary wastewater, which is normally piped directly
Pasta filata (e.g. Mozzarella), which together account for to sewage works.
about 80% of total cheese production.
Before the methods of treatment of diary processing
Table 1 Composition of selected cheese per 100 g wastewater can be appreciated, it is important to be
(Fox. P. F, 1998) acquainted with the various processes involved in diary
Cheese type Water (g) Protein (g) Fat (g) product manufacturing and the pollution potential of
Cheddar 36 25.5 34.4 different dairy products (Table 2). Wastewater loading
Cottage 79.1 13.8 3.9 for the American dairy industry is summarized in Table
Cream cheese 45.5 3.1 47.4 3.
Feta 56.5 15.6 20.2
Mozzarella 49.8 25.1 21 Table 2 Reported BOD and COD values for typical
dairy products (Wang & Howard, 2004)
Typically, five steps, or groups of steps, are involved Product BOD5 mg/l COD mg/l
in the conversion of milk to cheese curd: Whole milk 114,000 183,000
(1) coagulation, Skim milk 90,000 147,000
(2) acidification, Butter milk 61,000 134,000
(3) syneresis (expulsion of whey), Cream 400,000 750,000
(4) molding/shaping and Evaporated milk 271,000 378,000
(5) salting Whey 42,000 65,000
Ice cream 292,000 -
The basic stages of cheese-making shown in Fig. 1.

Table 3 American dairy and milk processing plant The problem for most dairy plants is that waste
effluent loadings (Cast, 1995) treatment is perceived to be a necessary evil; it ties up
Wastewater valuable capital, which could be better utilized for core
(kg ww/kg milk) range business activity. Dairy wastewater disposal usually
Milk 0.10-5.40 results in one of three problems:
Cheese 1.63-5.70 (a) high treatment levies being charged by local
Ice cream 0.80-5.60 authorities for industrial wastewater;
Condensed milk 1.00-3.30 (b) pollution might be caused when untreated
Powder 1.50-5.90 wastewater is either discharged into the environment or
Cottage cheese 0.80-12.40 used directly as irrigation water; and
Cottage cheese and milk 0.05-7.20
(c) dairy plants that have already installed an aerobic
biological system are faced with the problem of sludge
Cottage cheese, ice cream, and milk 1.40-3.90
disposal. To enable the dairy industry to contribute to
Mixed products 0.80-4.60
water conservation, an efficient and cost-effective
wastewater treatment technology is critical.
Milk has BOD content 250 times greater than that of The level of treatment is normally dictated by
sewage. It can therefore be expected that dairy environmental regulations applicable to the specific area.
wastewaters will have relatively high organic loads, with While most of larger dairy factories have installed
the main contributors being lactose, fats, and proteins treatment plants or, if available, dispose of their
(mainly casein), as well as high levels of nitrogen and wastewater into municipal sewers, cases of wastewater
phosphorus that are largely associated with milk disposal into the sea or disposal by means of land
proteins. The COD and BOD for whey have, for irrigation do occur. In contrast, most of smaller dairy
instance, been established to be between 35,000-68,000 factories dispose of their wastewater by irrigation onto
mg/l, with lactose being responsible for 90% of the COD lands or pastures.
and BOD contribution (Wang & Howard, 2004). Because the dairy industry is a major user and
generator of water, it is a candidate for wastewater reuse.
4. Treatment of Dairy Wastewater Even if the purified wastewater is initially not reused,
the dairy industry will still benefit from in-house
4.1 Introduction wastewater treatment management, because reducing
The dairy industry is generally considered to be the waste at the source can only help in reducing costs or
largest source of food processing wastewater in many improving the performance of any downstream treatment
countries. As awareness of the importance of improved facility. Best practice of diary wastewater treatment is
standards of wastewater treatment grows, process given in Fig. 2.
requirements have become increasingly stringent. Segregation
Although the dairy industry is not commonly associated
with severe environmental problems, it must continually
consider its environmental impact, particularly as dairy Screening
pollutants are mainly of organic origin. For dairy
companies with good effluent management systems in Equalisation
place, treatment is not a major problem, but when
accidents happen, the resulting publicity can be
pH Control
embarrassing and very costly.
All steps in the dairy chain, including production,
processing, packaging, transportation, storage, Fat Removal
distribution, and marketing, impact the environment.
Owing to the highly diversified nature of this industry, BOD Removal
various product processing, handling, and packaging
operations create wastes of different quality and quantity,
which, if not treated, could lead to increased disposal and Land Irrigation
severe pollution problems. In general, wastes from the
dairy processing industry contain high concentrations of Fig. 2 Best practice for dairy wastewater treatment
organic material such as proteins, carbohydrates, and
lipids, high concentrations of suspended solids, or high 4.2 Treatment Options
biological oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen The highly variable nature of dairy wastewaters in
demand (COD), high nitrogen concentrations, high terms of volumes and flow rates (which is dependent on
suspended oil and/or grease contents, and large the factory size and operation shifts) and in terms of pH
variations in pH, which necessitates "specialty" treatment and suspended solid (SS) content (mainly the result of
so as to prevent or minimize environmental problems. the choice of cleaning strategy employed) makes the
The dairy waste streams are also characterized by wide choice of an effective wastewater treatment regime
fluctuations in flow rates, which are related to difficult. Because dairy wastewaters are highly
discontinuity in the production cycles of the different biodegradable, they can be effectively treated with
products. These aspects increase the complexity of the biological wastewater treatment systems, but can pose a
wastewater treatment process. potential environmental hazard if not treated properly.

The three main options for the dairy industry are: 1- Hydrolysis
(a) discharge to and subsequent treatment of factory 2- Acidogenesis & Acetogenesis
wastewater at a nearby sewage treatment plant; 3- Methanogenesis
(b) removal of semisolid and special wastes from the
site by waste disposal contractors; or * Stage -1- Hydrolysis
(c) the treatment of factory wastewater in an onsite Since bacteria are unable to take up particulate
wastewater treatment plant. organic matter, the first step in anaerobic degradation
According to Robinson (1994), the first two options are consists of the hydrolysis of polymers through the action
continuously impacted by increasing costs, while the of exo-enzymes to produce smaller molecules which can
control of allowable levels of SS, BOD, and COD in cross the cell barrier. Two types of enzymes are involved
discharged wastewaters are also becoming more in substrate degradation: Endoenzymes and exoenzymes
stringent. as shown in Fig. 3.

4.3 Biological Treatment

Biological degradation is one of the most promising
options for the removal of organic material from dairy
wastewaters. However, sludge formed, especially during
the aerobic biodegradation processes, may lead to serious
and costly disposal problems. This can be aggravated by
the ability of sludge to adsorb specific organic
compounds and even toxic heavy metals. However,
biological systems have the advantage of microbial
transformations of complex organics and possible
adsorption of heavy metals by suitable microbes.
Fig. 3 Types of enzymes (Michael, 2003)
Biological processes are still fairly unsophisticated and
have great potential for combining various types of All bacteria produce endoenzymes, but not all bacteria
biological schemes for selective component removal produce exoenzymes. Each exoenzyme as well as each
(Wang & Howard, 2004). endoenzyme degrades only a specific substrate or group
of substrates. Therefore, a large and diverse community
4.3.1 Aerobic Treatment of bacteria is needed to ensure that the proper types of
Aerobic biological treatment methods depend on exoenzymes and endoenzymes are available for
microorganisms grown in an oxygen-rich environment to degradation of the substrates present. The relative
oxidize organics to carbon dioxide, water, and cellular abundance of bacteria within an anaerobic digester often
material. Systems of aerobic treatment can include the 16
is greater than 10 cells per millilitre (Michael, 2003).
conventional activated sludge process, the rotating The large insoluble molecules consisting of many small
biological contactors, the conventional trickling filters, molecules joined together by unique chemical bonds.
etc. The small molecules are soluble and quickly go into
4.3.1 Anaerobic Treatment solution once the chemical bonds are broken. Hydrolytic
Anaerobic treatment is a biological process ideally bacteria or facultative anaerobes and anaerobes that are
suited for the pretreatment of high strength wastewaters capable of performing hydrolysis achieve breakage of
that are typical of many industrial facilities today. these unique bonds.
Anaerobic digestion is a process by which microbes are Hydrolysis is in most cases, notably with sewage as
used in the absence of oxygen for the stabilization of substrate, rate-limiting for the overall process of
organic matters by conversion to biogas (methane and anaerobic degradation of organic matter and is very
carbon dioxide), new biomass and inorganic products. sensitive to temperature. For that reason, design of the
Up to 95% of the organic load in a waste stream can be anaerobic reactors for sewage treatment is usually based
converted to biogas (methane and carbon dioxide) and on the hydrolysis step. Anaerobic digesters at industrial
the remainder is utilized for cell growth and wastewater treatment plants that degrade simplistic,
maintenance. The process reactors are covered to prevent soluble organic compounds such as glucose do not
the introduction of air and the release of odor. experience hydrolysis stage. Anaerobic metabolism and biochemical pathways * Stage -2- Acidogenesis & Acetogenesis
The biochemistry of anaerobic organisms is quite During the acidogenesis (or fermentation process),
similar to aerobic organisms to some extent. In case of the hydrolysis products which are relatively small,
anaerobic organisms, oxygen can not serve as the soluble compounds are diffused inside the cells of
electron acceptors. In fermentation, the electron donors facultative anaerobes and anaerobes through the cell
are usually organic compounds. Generally, anaerobic membrane and then are either fermented or
bacteria may be divided into two groups: 1) facultative anaerobically oxidized. These processes occur by a
anaerobes and 2) anaerobes. The anaerobic digestion complex consortium of hydrolytic and non-hydrolytic
process and production of methane is divided into stages. microorganisms which are the source of energy for the
Three stages often are used to explain the sequence of acidifying population. The degradation of these
microbial events that occur during the digestion process compounds results in the production of CO2, H2S,
and the production of methane. These stages are: alcohols, organic acids, some organic-N compounds, and

some organic-sulfur compounds. The most important of The reproductive times or generation times for
the acids is acetate. Acetate is the principal organic acid methane-forming bacteria range from 3 days at 35°C to
or volatile acid used as a substrate by methane-forming 50 days at 10°C. Because of the long generation time of
acteria. The short chain-fatty acids, other than acetate, methane-forming bacteria, high retention times are
that are produced in the acidogenesis step are further required in an anaerobic digester to ensure the growth of
converted to acetate, hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide a large population of methane-forming bacteria for the
by the acetogenic bacteria. The available H2 and CO2 are degradation of organic compounds. At least 12 days are
partly converted into acetate. Both propionate and required to obtain a large population of methane-forming
butyrate acids are important intermediates in anaerobic bacteria. There are three principal groups of methane-
digestion, and then are converted by the hydrogen forming bacteria:
producing acetogenic bacteria into acetate and hydrogen. 1) the hydrogenotrophic methanogens,
The methane-forming bacteria can not use propionate 2) the acetotrophic methanogens, and
and butyrate directly to produce CH4. Acetogenic 3) the methylotrophic methanogens
bacteria reproduce very slowly; generation time for these
organisms is usually greater than 3 days. The use of different substrates by methane-forming
* Stage -3- Methanogenesis bacteria results in different energy gains by the bacteria.
In the methanogenic stage, methane is formed mostly For example, hydrogen-consuming methane production
from acetate and both carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas. results in more energy gain for methane-forming
Methane is also formed from some organic compounds bacteria than acetate degradation. Although methane
other than acetate. Therefore, all other fermentative production using hydrogen is the more effective process
products must be converted to compounds that can be of energy capture by methane-forming bacteria, less than
used directly or indirectly by methane-forming bacteria. 30% of the methane produced in an anaerobic digester is
Acids, alcohols, and organic-nitrogen compounds that by this method. Approximately 70% of the methane
are not degraded by methane-forming bacteria produced in an anaerobic digester is derived from
accumulate in the digester supernatant. Methane-forming acetate. There are many factors affecting performance of
bacteria are oxygen-sensitive, fastidious anaerobes and anaerobic processes such as: pH, temperature, alkalinity,
are free-living terrestrial and aquatic organisms. All nutrients, toxic substances and retention times.
methane-forming bacteria produce methane. No other High-strength wastes are usually treated in anaerobic
organism produces methane. suspended growth systems, whereas soluble wastewaters
Methane-forming bacteria obtain energy by reducing are usually treated in anaerobic fixed-film systems.
simplistic compounds or substrates like CO2 and acetate
(CH3COOH). Some methane-forming bacteria are Table 4 shows a summary of efficiencies of some
capable of fixing molecular nitrogen (N2). biological treatment systems used to treat dairy effluents.

5. Anaerobic Treatment of Whey in Stirred 5.2 Experiment Design
Batch Reactor (AnSBR) 5.2.1 Laboratory-scale anaerobic stirred batch
This research orientation was the biological treatment The reactor used for the study was glass vessel with a
of whey using anaerobic process. The study was carried theoretical volume of 2.5 L, and 2 litres of working
out in laboratory scale with anaerobic stirred batch volume. The reactor had an off-gas line attached to the
reactor, using fresh whey. The main focuses were lid of the vessel. A scheme of the stirred batch reactor,
investigating the feasibility of a biological process for which was used in this study, is shown in Fig. 4. The
treating highly concentrated carbohydrate-containing primary components of the system were the main reactor
wastewater under anaerobic conditions and also the compartment, the wastewater supplying system,
monitoring of biogas production and COD reduction. thermometer, the constant temperature jacket providing
Anaerobic operation has recently been accepted as an by automatic pumping of hot air, pH electrode, pH
effective mean of treating high strength wastewaters. For adjustment system, magnetic stirrer device and the
wastewater with a total BOD in excess of 4000 mg/1, biogas measuring system. The reactor was surrounded
anaerobic contact process was cheaper than an aerobic by a hot-air-jacketed glass vessel. Fresh whey
process. There were many applications which were (wastewater) feed was added into the system in different
described for wastewater from the meat packing, concentrations. Biogas left the reactor through a port at
brewing, pharmaceutical and food processing industries. the top and was measured by water displacement. Hot air
There are some benefits of anaerobic processes in was pumped through the air-jacket surrounding the
treating organic wastewater, which can be summarized reactor to maintain the temperature at 38 ْC.
as follows:
(1) Low cellular yields. This process requires only
relatively few inorganic nutrients for treating wastewater
and produces only little amounts of surplus sludge.
(2) The major gas product is methane, a valuable and
sustainable energy resource. The second major gas is
carbon dioxide.
(3) No requirement of oxygen in the process, in contrary
strictly anaerobic conditions and the absence of nitrate
are required.
(4) Good capability for degrading a variety of natural
organic compounds. Produce a residual sludge which is Fig. 4 A Scheme of anaerobic stirred batch reactor
inoffensive and useful as a soil conditioner and low Where:
1. Reactor, 2. Hot-air Jacket, 3. Air heating device, 4. pH electrode, 5.
grade fertilizer. Thermometer, 6. Buffering solution tank, 7. Wastewater (whey) feed
(5) Anaerobic digestion of primary sewage sludge tank, 8. Digital reading device of pH and temperature, 9. Biogas pipe,
effectively reduces the concentration of pathogenic 10. Releasing biogas pipe to the air, 11. Samples taking pipe, 12.
microorganisms. Discharge tap, 13. Biogas measuring apparatus, 14. Magnetic stirrer
device, 15. Automatic control device of hot air pumping, 16.
Electricity source.
5.1 Whey
Whey is the serum of milk resulting after removal of 5.2.2 Reactor operation
fat and casein. Whey is a by product in cheese and casein The AnSBR reactor was fed with a wastewater, in
production. There are two kinds of whey, depending on different concentrations of COD, which was prepared by
the type of milk coagulation used, either sweet or sour diluting the fresh whey (75000 mg/l of COD), provided
whey. Sweet whey is obtained if milk is coagulated by by a cheese maker, with water. It was anticipated that by
proteolytic enzymes, such as chymosine and pepsine or seeding the pilot-scale digester with anaerobic sludge
microbial enzymes produced from Mucor miehei and taken from a septic tank to reduce the time required for
Mucor pusillus. It comes from the production of cheddar, start-up period. The sludge volume was 25% of the
Swiss and Italian varieties of cheese. Acid whey is wastewater used in the test (1:4 seed/feed ratio).
obtained if milk is coagulated by acids mainly by lactate This reactor was operated under various organic
from lactic acid fermentation of lactose. It comes from loading rates (OLR) and various hydraulic retention
soft cheese production, with cottage cheese as a times (HRT). Firstly, reactor was fed with 100 ml of
predominant product. The chemical composition of whey fresh whey per liter of water (10 % in concentration)
depends upon the type of coagulation used. with different retention times. The working volume of
It contains roughly half the solid of the whole milk from reactor (2 litres) was operated under a draw/feed regime
which it is derived and most of the water soluble (i.e. 200 ml of the reactor contents were drawn from the
vitamins and minerals. Typical whey contains around reactor prior to feeding with an equivalent volume of
6.5% total solids. These include lactose (68-72%), fresh feed). Different retention times (e.g. 1, 2, etc, of
protein (12-13%), minerals (8-9%) plus small amounts of days) used in this stage. Secondly, feeding percentage
fat and lactic acid. Generally, 100 L of milk produces (e.g. 80, 100, 200 ml, etc, of whey per litre of water) was
about 12 kg of cheese or about 3 kg of casein. In either increased step by step. The reactor performance was
case, about 87 L of whey is made as a byproduct monitored by daily measurement of the pH, temperature
(Marisa, 2004). and the total biogas production.

The COD for both influent and effluent and the biogas
production were measured. The pH in the reactor was 90
measured automatically by a pH electrode unit. pH 80

Organic removal %
controlling is very important, especially to the 70
methanogenic stage. The pH adjustment process 60
accomplished manually by adding buffering capacity, i.e 50

alkaline solutions. Buffering capacity can be increased 40

with addition of bicarbonates (e.g. NaHCO3) or
compounds reacting with carbon dioxide and thus 10
producing bicarbonates (e.g. NaOH). The pH value was 0
kept in range 6.5 - 7.5 (Shanta, 2004). In certain cases, 0 10 20 30 40
the pH adjusting and the temperature controlling were Organic loading rate (OLR), (g COD/l.d)
stopped in order to determine the reactor capabilities for
degrading organic pollutants. Fig. 5 is shown the pilot- Fig. 7 Organic removal efficiency at different OLR
scale used in the experiment. Finally, the reactor
performance was monitored after adding minerals (e.g. The production of biogas, in our study, increased
FeC13). continuously, day by day, until reaching to a constant
value nearly. The maximum production of biogas was
0.32 litre per gram of COD removed (or nearly 20.8 L of
biogas per litre of whey) as shown in Fig. 8.

Biogas production (l/g COD removal)







0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Time of test running (days)

Fig. 5 A Pilot-scale of anaerobic stirred batch reactor

Fig. 8 The maximum biogas production per g CODremoved
5.3 Results Ferric ions addition has an improving effect on
The AnSBR reactor was fed with fresh whey (75000 methanogenesis by increasing the methane production
mg of COD per litre) diluted with water in different and acetate conversion rate. The methane production
concentrations. The start up stage was used 10 % of increases higher than theoretically expected by adding
diluted whey (100 ml of whey per litre of water or 7.5 g ferric ions. The additional of ferric ions improve
COD/l). The AnSBR mixed completely by magnetic methanogenesis. It increases the methane production
stirrer (200-400 rpm). After many weeks of start-up during the exponential phase. By adding 50 mg/l of
operation, a constant concentration of organic feeding FeC13 to the AnSBR in our experiment, the biogas
(10 g COD/l.d) was applied at various hydraulic production increased nearly 50% as shown in Fig. 9.
retention times. The organic removal efficiencies are
shown in Fig. 6. A COD removal efficiency of >= 76 %
was achieved when the reactor was operated at a HRT
longer than 5 days and an OLR lower than 10 g COD/l.d
(Figure 6 and 7). The COD removal efficiency decreased
to less than 74 % when the OLR was increased above 15
g COD/l.d. The maximum removal of COD was 87% for
7.5 g COD/l.d of OLR.
Organic removals %

Fig. 9 Effect of FeC13 adding to the AnSBR on biogas
50 production. (A) Without adding FeC13, (B) With
40 adding 50 mg/l of FeC13.
10 Finally, the current study of using AnSBR as a pilot
0 scale is a modest step to explain the capability of the
0 5 10 15 20
HRT (days)
anaerobic stirred batch reactor to be a primary stage of
treatment of high organic wastewater. Interesting results
Fig. 6 Organic removal efficiency at different HRT have made, but more investigations should be achieved.


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