In this paper, the Split Feed Anaerobic Baffled Reactor (SFABR) is introduced and investigations into the use of modified seed material are described. It was shown that shorter and reliable start-up times could be achieved with SFABR when using improved seed material, even for the treatment of particularly problematic wastewater, i.e. ice-cream wastewater. Scanning electron photo-micrographs (SEM) revealed that granulation process occurs relatively rapidly in the SFABR compared with other reactor configurations, and that the reactor contained a highly mixed population of methanogens in all compartments. The use of polymer-conditioned anaerobic sludge and granular sludge as seed proved advantageous over the use of suspended growth anaerobic sludge, and the “improved” SFABR consequently performed more efficiently and also showed greater stability than the conventional ABR.

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