A laboratory UASB reactor was fed with cane molasses stillage at organic loadings from 5 to 21.5 kg COD/m3 d. With an organic load of 17.4 kg COD/m3 d, an accumulation of VFA, principally propionic acid, was observed due to little bioavailability or lack of trace metals (Fe, Ni, Co and Mo). Associated to this, the performance of the UASB reactor was low (44% COD removal efficiency), with an alkalinity ratio above 0.4. The addition of Fe (100 mg/l), Ni (15 mg/l), Co (10 mg/l) and Mo (0.2 mg/l) to the influent reduced significantly the level of propionic acid (5291mg/l to 251 mg/l) and acetic acid (1100 mg/l to 158 mg/l). The COD removal efficiency increased from 44% to 58%, the biogas production from 10.7 to 14.8 l/d (NTP) and 0.085 to 0.32 g CH4-COD/g SSV d for specific sludge methanogenic activity with propionic acid as substrate. These improved results were obtained with high COD (68.9 g/l) and organic load (21.5 kg COD/m3 d).
Effect of trace metals on the anaerobic degradation of volatile fatty acids in molasses stillage
A. Espinosa, L. Rosas, K. Ilangovan, A. Noyola; Effect of trace metals on the anaerobic degradation of volatile fatty acids in molasses stillage. Water Sci Technol 1 December 1995; 32 (12): 121–129. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.1995.0473
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