Supports made from recycled glass as biofilm carriers in anaerobic packed bed treatment of high-strength wastewaters

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Abstract

The possibility of using carriers made of recycled glass in anaerobic packed bed reactors has been studied in laboratory-scale experiments. Two types of carrier were studied: a porous bead of glass foam and an open ring of a smoother, sintered glass. The performance of processes with these carriers was compared with a conventional upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) process. The treatment of wastewater from a pulp and paper mill, and from a pharmaceutical plant was studied. Both carrier types were found to be suitable for supporting biofilm growth. With the porous beads, however, suspended sludge accumulated between the carriers, which caused clogging of the process. This, together with the low mechanical strength of the material, makes this carrier less suitable for full-scale processes. The sintered rings showed no signs of clogging and had better mechanical qualities and the maximum loading rate for pulp and paper processing wastewater was 10 kg COD m-3 d-1. This is similar to processes with commercially available plastic carriers, but with the UASB process, the maximum load with this wastewater was around 20 kg COD m-3 d-1, which makes the sintered ring process non-competitive. An anaerobic packed bed process with glass carriers could, however, find applications where the UASB process is not applicable. For example, the wastewater from the pharmaceutical plant could not be treated with conventional suspended sludge methods due to the toxicity of the effluent. Instead, treatment in a packed bed with porous glass beads was tested with good results.

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  • Industrial Biotechnology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-256
JournalResource and Environmental Biotechnology
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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