The combination of equalisation tanks and anaerobic digesters represents a typical design scenario within the treatment of industrial wastewaters. In this context, if the hydraulic capacity of the equalisation tanks is effectively handled, significant improvements in the performance of anaerobic digesters can be achieved in terms of process stability and biogas production. This paper presents a rule-based control strategy for anaerobic reactors with the objective of maximising in the long-term the net production of biogas. The control algorithm combines real-time information about the state of the anaerobic digester with on-line measurements about the wastewater volume of the equalisation tank in order to set permanently the appropriate production of biogas. Such a strategy guarantees a continuous influent flow so that emptying and overflowing episodes in the equalisation tank can be prevented. Aiming at a further full-scale implementation, only reliable and cost-effective on-line instrumentation has been considered within the control architecture. The performance of the proposed control approach has been validated for an anaerobic hybrid configuration (AHR) by simulation using the IWA ADM1 model.

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