African Journal of Biotechnology

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Performance of an innovative multi-stage anaerobic reactor during start-up period

R Alkarimiah, SB Mahat, A Yuzir, MF Din, S Chelliapan


Start-up of an anaerobic reactor is a relatively delicate process and depends on various factors such as wastewater composition, available inoculum, operating conditions and reactor configuration. Accordingly, systematized operational procedures are important, mainly during the start-up of an anaerobic reactor. In this paper, the start-up performance of an innovative multi-stage anaerobic reactor using synthetic wastewater at various organic loading rates (OLRs) was investigated. In Phase 1 of the experimental study, the reactor was operated at hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 1 day with corresponding OLR of 1.07 kg COD.m-3.d-1. Thereafter, the reactor was operated at intermittent feeding (Phase 2), with HRT of 1.4 day and OLR of 0.82 to 2.45 kg COD.m-3.d-1. Results showed up to 71% COD reduction in the Phase 1 of the experimental study. However, in Phase 2, when the reactor was operated at intermittent feeding, the COD removal efficiency increased from 75 to 92%. It can be concluded that the multi-stage anaerobic reactor system performed better at intermittent feeding, indicating that the reactor required low loading rate and sufficient HRT for gradual acclimatization for reactor start-up. The reduction of the period necessary for the start-up and improved operational control are important factors to increase the efficiency the reactor system.

Key words: Anaerobic reactor start-up, biomass, glucose wastewater, intermittent feeding, multi-stage anaerobic reactor.
AJOL African Journals Online