Performance of Upflow Anaerobic Bioelectrochemical Reactor Compared to the Sludge Blanket Reactor for Acidic Distillery Wastewater Treatment
The performance of upflow anaerobic bioelectrochemical reactor (UABE), equipped with electrodes (anode and cathode) inside the upflow anaerobic reactor, was compared to that of upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor for the treatment of acidic distillery wastewater. The UASB was stable in pH, alkalinity and VFAs until the organic loading rate (OLR) of 4.0 g COD/L.d, but it became unstable over 4.0 g COD/L.d. As a response to the abrupt doubling in OLR, the perturbation in the state variables for the UABE was smaller, compared to the UASB, and quickly recovered. The UABE stability was better than the UASB at higher OLR of 4.0-8.0 g COD/L.d, and the UABE showed better performance in specific methane production rate (2,076 mL CH4/L.d), methane content in biogas (66.8%), and COD removal efficiency (82.3%) at 8.0 g COD/L.d than the UASB. The maximum methane yield in UABE was about 407 mL/g CODr at 4.0 g COD/L.d, which was considerably higher than about 282 mL/g CODr in UASB. The rate limiting step for the bioelectrochemical reaction in UABE was the oxidation of organic matter on the anode surface, and the electrode reactions were considerably affected by the pH at 8.0 g COD/L.d of high OLR. The maximum energy efficiency of UABE was 99.5%, at 4.0 g COD/L.d of OLR. The UABE can be an advanced high rate anaerobic process for the treatment of acidic distillery wastewater.