The operation of a number of small and large scale biological fluidized bed pilot plants over the past ten years has resulted in the derivation of process and component information for design of commercial facilities. The General Motors (GM) Corporation represents the single, largest industrial user of the technology in the United States. Ten fluidized bed reactors are located at GM automotive manufacturing facilities. Nine of the reactors are designed to treat wastewaters originating from metalworking operations pretreated for removal of petroleum oils. The other reactor is designed for treatment of sanitary waste-water. In 1984 and 1985, GM completed extensive pilot plant studies and on the basis of the results selected the aerobic fluidized bed (AFB) process configuration for full scale implementation at various plant sites. The fluidized bed reactors located at the sites range in reactor volume from approximately 60 to 730 m3. The pilot plant results which formed the basis for process design of the full scale reactors involved operation of 77 l fluidized bed reactors. Operating information and performance results were derived from evaluation of full scale GM fluidized bed reactors located at the New Departure Hyatt (NDH) plant in Sandusky, Ohio and the Oldsmobile engine plant in Lansing, Michigan. The full scale results were compared to the pilot plant results with the objective of understanding the effects of scale-up on system operation and performance. A comparable level of reactor attached volatile solids (VS) was measured in the pilot and full scale reactors. Biomass net yield coefficients were higher in the full scale reactors, likely due to differences in the composition of the wastewater fed to the full scale versus the pilot scale units. Oxygen utilization coefficients were comparable. The full scale performance results compared favorably with results from the pilot plant studies on the basis of the relationship between effluent quality and reactor solids retention time (SRT).

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