Pilot-Scale Polyhydroxyalkanoate Production from Paper Mill Wastewater: Process Characteristics and Identification of Bottlenecks for Full-Scale Implementation

Jelmer Tamis*, Michel Mulders, Henk Dijkman, René Rozendal, Mark C.M. Van Loosdrecht, Robbert Kleerebezem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study, the suitability of paper industry wastewater for production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) was investigated in a pilot reactor in an industrial setting. The pilot plant was designed as a three-step process comprising (1) anaerobic fermentation for maximization of the volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration, (2) enrichment of PHA-producing biomass, and (3) accumulation for maximization of the PHA content of the biomass. After fermentation, the paper mill process water contained a VFA fraction of 78% on a chemical oxygen demand (COD) basis. The length of the feast phase in the enrichment process stabilized at 45 min±4 min after 18 days of operation. At the end of the feast phase all VFA was consumed and the PHA content of the volatile suspended solids (VSS) was 0.50 g PHA/g VSS±0.05 g PHA/g VSS. The acquired microbial community was dominated by Plasticicumulans acidivorans, a PHA-producing microorganism previously found to dominate VFA-fed laboratory reactors. The maximum PHA content achieved after accumulation was 0.70 to 0.80 g PHA/g VSS. An overall PHA yield of 34% on a COD basis was achieved. Improving the VFA fraction in the product spectrum of the fermentation and minimization of acid and base consumption for pH control were identified as major bottlenecks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04018107
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering (United States)
Volume144
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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