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Title: The effect of biomass acclimation on the co-digestion of toxic organic effluents in anaerobic digesters
Authors: Chamane, Ziphathele 
Issue Date: 2008
Currently KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province is populated with textile industry, which
produces wastewater, some of which is not biodegradable. Due to the stringent
environmental regulations the wastewater cannot be discharged into the rivers or public
owned treatment systems. The alternative solution is to co-dispose this wastewater with
easily biodegradable waste (labile effluent). The aim of this investigation was to develop a
process protocol for the codigestion of high strength and toxic organic effluents under
mesophilic conditions (35°C ± 2°C), with emphasis on the effect of biomass acclimation.
A total of four effluents were chosen for this study, two labile (distillery and size) and two
recalcitrant (scour dye and reactive dye).
Two anaerobic batch experiments and two pilot scale trials were performed. The first batch
anaerobic experiment investigated the influence of biomass source in anaerobic treatability.
The second batch test investigated, whether biomass acclimation enhanced the
biodegradability of pollutants. The pilot scale trials were the scale up version of the
biomass acclimation test.
The results showed sludge from Umbilo Wastewater Treatment Works was a superior
biomass source, producing more gas and methane compared to Mpumalanga waste. For
the high strength organic waste, the acclimated size and distillery samples produced 50%
more biogas and methane compared to non-acclimated samples. This confirms that the
biomass acclimation enhances the biodegradability. The biomass acclimation did not
enhance the biodegradability of the recalcitrant effluent (scour dye). The pilot scale trials
did not yield meaningful data; therefore it could not be proven if acclimation works on a
larger scale.
Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of academic requirements for the Degree of Master of Technology: Chemical Engineering, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2008.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Engineering and Built Environment)

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