Performance of two-phase anaerobic digestion of cheese whey was investigated in a system consisting of a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) as the acidogenic reactor and an upflow anaerobic filter (UFAF) as the methanogenic reactor. The acidogenic reactor was operated at various hydraulic retention times (HRTs) between 18 hours and 4 days. The results showed that an optimum HRT for the acidogenic reactor with the same organic loading rate (OLR) between 0.5-2 g COD/MLSS day was 24 hours. At this retention time the acidification rate increased up to a maximum of 50%. Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) produced in the acidogenic reactor operating at an HRT of 24 hours were 52% acetic acid, with 14% propionic, 27% butyric and 7% isovaleric acids. Operating the acidogenic reactor at this HRT, the effluent was fed to the upflow anaerobic filter. Here HRT was varied between 3-6 days for the best COD removal efficiency and biogas production. At an HRT of 4 days a 90% soluble effluent COD removal efficiency was obtained with an outmost biogas yield of 0.55 m3/kg COD removed.

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