This study was performed to optimize both acidogenic hydrogenesis and methanogenesis, and then to develop a pilot-scale two-stage process producing not only CH4 but also H2. Firstly, acidogenic hydrogenesis of food waste was examined in pilot-scale leaching-bed reactors using dilution rate (D) as a tool to improve the environmental conditions. The maximum efficiency of 71.4% was obtained by adjusting D from 4.5 to 2.5 d−1 depending on the state of degradation. Secondly, the wastewater from acidogenic hydrogenesis was converted to CH4 in a pilot-scale UASB reactor. The COD removal efficiency exceeded 95% up to the loading rates of 13.1 g COD/L/d, which corresponded to HRT of 0.25 d (6 h). Lastly, a pilot-scale two-stage process was devised based on a combination of acidogenic hydrogenesis and methanogenesis. Over 120 days, the pilot-scale process resulted in large VS reduction of 70.9% at the high loading rate of 12.5 kg VS/m3/d in a short SRT of 8 days.

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