A 2.0 L volume of EGSB reactor was operated at 20°C for more than 500 days with 0.3–0.4 g COD/L of sucrose base wastewater to investigate the influence of effluent-recirculation on the process performance. At the start up period, the reactor was operated in EGSB mode with 5 m/h upflow velocity by continuous effluent recirculation. The COD loading was set to 7.2–9.6 kg COD/m3 day with HRT of 1 hour. However, in this mode, EGSB reactor exhibited insufficient COD removal efficiency, i.e., 50–60%. Therefore, UASB mode (without recirculation, 0.7 m/h upflow velocity) was used for 30 minutes in every 40 minutes cycle to increase the COD concentration in the sludge bed. As a result, an excellent process performance was shown. The COD removal efficiency increased from 65% to 91% and the reactor could maintain a good physical property of retained sludge (sludge concentration: 33.4 g VSS/L and SVI: 25 mL/g VSS). Furthermore, retained sludge possessed sufficient level of methanogenic activity at 20°C.

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