Applicability of multi-wavelength fluorometry for anaerobic digestion process monitoring was investigated in a 3.5 L upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) lab-scale reactor. Both off-line and on-line monitoring of key process parameters was tested. Off-line emission spectra were measured at an angle of 90° to the excitation beam using a cuvette. On-line measurements were carried out using a fiber optic probe in the external recirculation line of the digester. Fluorescence spectra were correlated to available analytical measurements to obtain partial least square regression models. An independent set of measurements was used to validate the regression models. Model estimations showed reasonable agreement with analytical measurements with multiple determination coefficients (R2) between 0.6 and 0.95. Results showed that off-line fluorescence measurements can be used for fast estimation of anaerobic digestor effluent quality. At the same time, the on-line implementation of multi-wavelength fluorescence measurements can be used for real-time process monitoring and, potentially, for on-line process control.

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