In this study, the impact of applied solids retention time (SRT) on the biological performance of an anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) treating synthetic dairy wastewater with high lipid content was assessed. Two side-stream AnMBR systems were operated at an SRT of 20 and 40 days (R20 and R40, respectively), equipped with an inside-out tubular membrane operated in cross-flow mode under full-scale operational conditions, i.e. crossflow velocity, transmembrane pressure, membrane flux. Successful operation was achieved and removal efficiencies of both reactors were up to 99% applying an organic loading rate (OLR) of 4.7 g COD L−1 d−1. No precipitation of lipids was observed throughout the operational period, keeping the lipids available for the anaerobic degradation. Long chain fatty acid (LCFA) accumulation was very modest and amounted 148 and 115 mg LCFA-COD per gram of volatile suspended solids (VSS) for R20 and R40, respectively. At an SRT of 40 days, a slightly better biological conversion was obtained. Periodically performed specific methanogenic activity (SMA) tests showed stabilization of the SMA for R40 sludge, whereas for R20 sludge the SMA continued to decrease. This study revealed a more stable reactor performance operating the AnMBR at an SRT of 40 days compared to 20 days.
Bibliographical noteAccepted Author Manuscript
- Anaerobic membrane bioreactor
- dairy wastewater
- long chain fatty acids
- sludge retention time