Modelling of a recycling sludge bed reactor using AQUASIM: reprint

  • NE Ristow
  • K Whittington-Jones
  • C Corbett
  • P Rose
  • GS Hansford


The recycling sludge bed reactor (RSBR) allows for increased solids retention time, resulting in greater substrate conversion for all particulate degradation and biological reactions. The purpose of the RSBR is to hydrolyse primary settled sewage (PSS). Soluble products are then used for the biological treatment of acid mine drainage. A mathematical model has been developed that describes the anaerobic digestion of PSS and biological sulphate reduction in the RSBR. The hydrodynamic processes taking place in the RSBR have been simulated using a system of mixed reactors connected by water flow and mass flux streams. Trends obtained from varying the hydraulic retention time, the sludge recycle ratio, and the feed COD: SO42- ratio allow for identification of the critical biological processes taking place in the RSBR, as well as the influence of the operating parameters. Areas where there is a lack of understanding in the mechanism and kinetics have been identified, and these include the influence of sulphate reduction on the hydrolysis of particulate organic matter, as well as the mathematical influence of sulphide inhibition on the various biological groups. A sensitivity analysis shows that hydrolysis is the rate-limiting process, while sulphide inhibition is of importance when sulphate conversion increases.

WaterSA Vol.28(1) 2002: 111-120

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eISSN: 0378-4738