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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering >> 2013, Volume 7, Issue 1 doi: 10.1007/s11783-012-0456-1

Fermentative hydrogen production from beet sugar factory wastewater treatment in a continuous stirred tank reactor using anaerobic mixed consortia

1. Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China; 2. School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090, China

Available online: 2013-02-01

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A low pH, ethanol-type fermentation process was evaluated for wastewater treatment and bio-hydrogen production from acidic beet sugar factory wastewater in a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) with an effective volume of 9.6 L by anaerobic mixed cultures in this present study. After inoculating with aerobic activated sludge and operating at organic loading rate (OLR) of 12 kgCOD?m ·d , HRT of 8h, and temperature of 35°C for 28 days, the CSTR achieved stable ethanol-type fermentation. When OLR was further increased to 18 kgCOD?m ·d on the 53rd day, ethanol-type fermentation dominant microflora was enhanced. The liquid fermentation products, including volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and ethanol, stabilized at 1493 mg·L in the bioreactor. Effluent pH, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), and alkalinity ranged at 4.1–4.5, -250–(-290) mV, and 230–260 mgCaCO ?L . The specific hydrogen production rate of anaerobic activated sludge was 0.1 L?gMLVSS ·d and the COD removal efficiency was 45%. The experimental results showed that the CSTR system had good operation stability and microbial activity, which led to high substrate conversion rate and hydrogen production ability.

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