This work focuses on the implementation of high performance systems to the wastewater treatment of sugar factories. For this purpose, systems with immobilised bacteria were studied. For the hydrolysis of organic matter and denitrification, fluidized bed reactors were used. The nitrification was studied with an airlift reactor system. Both hydrolysis and nitrogen elimination were investigated on laboratory and pilot scales in sugar factories.

Although with porous materials higher biomass concentrations are attainable for the hydrolysis (up to 55 kg/m3), for economical reasons sand was used (22.5 kg/m3) for the pilot scale-study. With a pilot-scale reactor (volume 1 m3) the maximum sucrose conversion rate achieved with sand in the first campaign was 52 kg/(m3 d).

For the nitrogen elimination on the pilot scale, a system with denitrification and nitrification was combined. The highest performance for the nitrification (reactor volume: 0.68 m3) with pumice as support material was 1.2 kg NH4-N/(m3 d), limiting the whole system. The denitrification rate (reactor volume: 0.12 m3) was four times higher (3.5–5 kg NO3-N/(m3 d). Rules of the modelling of the system are discussed.

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