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Available online at www.sciencedirect.com Available online at www.sciencedirect.com Procedia Environmental Sciences 18 (

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com Procedia Environmental Sciences 18 ( 2013 ) 433 – 441 2013

Procedia Environmental Sciences 18 ( 2013 ) 433 – 441

Procedia Environmental Sciences 18 ( 2013 ) 433 – 441 2013 International Symposium on Environmental Science

2013 International Symposium on Environmental Science and Technology (2013 ISEST)

Anaerobic acidogenesis biodegradation of palm oil mill effluent using Suspended Closed Anaerobic Bioreactor (SCABR) at mesophilic temperature

Yee-Shian Wong a,b, *, Tjoon Tow Teng b , Soon-An Ong a , M. Norhashimah b , M. Rafatullah b and Hong-Chen Lee b

a School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11600 Gelugor, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia b School of Environmental Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Kompleks Pusat Pengajian Jejawi 3, 02600 Arau, Perlis, Malaysia

Abstract

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) reduction efficiency, behavior of Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA) and biogas production rate through Suspended Closed Anaerobic Bioreactor (SCABR) for the treatment of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) at acidogenic condition had been studied. SCABR was operated at Hydraulic Retention Time (HRT) of 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 days. The range of pH was conducted between 5.26 and 5.20. The results of acidogenesis anaerobic treatment indicate that the COD reduction efficiency and the biogas production rate decreased from 87.08 % to 38.20 % and 3000 mL biogas/day to 604 mL biogas/day, respectively with reducing HRT. The total VFA concentration increased from 11569.71 mg CH 3 COOH/L to 16956.00 mg CH 3 COOH/L with reducing HRT. High methane production of about 40.42% or biogas production of 8 mL biogas/mL POME fed were obtained for 12 days of HRT. Highest methane yield was achieved at 0.046 L CH 4 /g COD reduction .

© © 2013 2013 The The Authors. Authors. Published Published by by Elsevier Elsevier B.V. B.V.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Beijing Institute of Technology.

Beijing Institute of Technology.

Keywords: Acetic Acid; Anaerobic Process; Biodegradation; Biogas; Mesophiles; Wastewater Treatment

1. Introduction

Palm oil industry is the main leading industry in Malaysia with production of more than 13 million tons per year of crude palm oil covering about 11% of the total plantations land area [1]. Malaysia contributes about 47% of the world’s supply of crude palm oil [2]. Even the palm oil industry contributes significantly towards the country's earnings but it has also been identified as the main source of water

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +604-9798971, Fax: +604-9798636. E-mail address: yswong@unimap.edu.my.

1878-0296 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Beijing Institute of Technology.

doi:10.1016/j.proenv.2013.04.058

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Yee-Shian Wong et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 18 (2013) 433 – 441

pollution in the country. In the process of crude palm oil production, large amount of water is required leading to the generation of huge volumes of wastewater known as palm oil mill effluent (POME) [3]. Palm oil mills generated about 50 million tonne of POME yearly from the mill operation such as hydro- cyclone waste, sterilizer condensate and separator sludge [4]. 0.9–1.5 m 3 of POME is generated for each ton of crude palm oil produced [2]. If these untreated effluents are discharged into watercourses, it would cause substantial environmental problems in the water quality and foul smell to the surrounding of factory. Currently, biological treatment process had gained lots of interest among the researchers. Perhaps, biological technologies such as bioflocculant application in coagulation–flocculation [3], constructed wetlands [4], solar bio-photocatalytic [5] and anaerobic process have been used for water and wastewater treatments. In the anaerobic digestion process, the raw POME is first converted into volatile fatty acid (VFA) by acid forming bacteria. The volatile fatty acids are then converted into methane (CH 4 ) and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). Thus, significant attention has been focused on the relationship between VFA concentration and anaerobic fermented performance. VFAs are vital intermediary compounds in the metabolic pathway of methane fermentation. High VFA concentration in the system could cause the inhibition of methanogenesis [6]. This is because the methanogens are unable to remove hydrogen gas (H 2 ) and volatile organic acids as they could be produced under the conditions of overloading or in the presence of inhibitors. Moreover, the accumulation of volatile fatty acids would cause depletion of buffering capacity and depression of pH that slow down the hydrolysis and acidogenesis phase. Therefore, the concentration of VFA is then a main consideration for high-quality performance of an anaerobic digestion process. Hence it is essential to examine the optimal conditions and the efficiencies of digesters by examining VFA concentration. Anaerobic digestion is also a degradation process of organic substrates in the absence of oxygen, via enzymatic and bacterial activities producing biogas that could be used as a renewable energy source. The end products of the anaerobic digestion of POME are mainly CH 4 and CO 2 in the ratios of 65:35, hydrogen sulphide (H 2 S) and nitrogen (N 2 ) concentrations are insignificant and H 2 is not detectable and around 28 m 3 of gases are released from 1 tonne of POME [7]. The CH 4 emission may be vary because of the variation in POME treatment practices. The CH 4 concentration from anaerobic digestion was also found to be more consistent in the gaseous mixture. However, mill activities and seasonal cropping of oil palm could influence CH 4 production from the anaerobic process [7]. Perhaps, anaerobic digestion could produce renewable energy, valuable digested residues, liquid fertilizer and soil conditioner. Therefore, it becomes attractive to treat high strength organic POME. The present study aims to examine the COD reduction efficiency of closed anaerobic digestion tank for POME, the optimization of biogas production from closed anaerobic digestion tank of POME treatment and the degradation of VFA of POME from anaerobic digestion at acidogenesis condition and mesophilic temperature.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Wastewater

POME sample was collected from a palm oil mill at Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia, and stored in 10 L clean high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles. It was transported to the laboratory and stored at 4 °C until further use.

2.2. Experiment set-up

The laboratory scale experimental set-up consists of Suspended Closed Anaerobic Bioreactor

Yee-Shian Wong et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 18 (2013) 433 – 441

(SCABR) and a gas collection system is shown in Fig. 1. The dimension of the SCABR is 0.174 m 0.269 m (diameter height). The reactor consists of essentially a cylinder-shape flexi glass vessel with total and working volumes of 6.4 L and 4.5 L, respectively. The reactor comprises an integrated on-line pH data recording system connected to pH probe and mixer. The operating temperature of the reactor was maintained constant at 35 °C through the bioreactor jacket. Firstly, the treated effluent samples were collected daily from the SCABR by the liquid injector. The effluent samples and mixed samples were analyzed for each batch of HRT. No pH adjustment was applied to the reactor but pH of the raw POME wastewater was controlled at the range of 7-7.3 with 1 N sodium hydroxide (NaOH). After that, the pH adjusted raw POME was fed into the bioreactor.

the pH adjusted raw POME was fed into the bioreactor. 435 Fig. 1. The experimental set-up.
the pH adjusted raw POME was fed into the bioreactor. 435 Fig. 1. The experimental set-up.

435

the pH adjusted raw POME was fed into the bioreactor. 435 Fig. 1. The experimental set-up.
the pH adjusted raw POME was fed into the bioreactor. 435 Fig. 1. The experimental set-up.

Fig. 1. The experimental set-up.

2.3. SCABR operation

The SCABR was initiated with the seeding from the anaerobic pond of MALPOM Industry Bhd wastewater treatment plant and approximately 4.5 L of the anaerobic digested POME were used to acclimatize the laboratory SCABR. Before the feeding was performed, the pH of raw POME was adjusted to 7-7.3. Then the raw POME was fed into the reactor at 6.25-6.67 kg COD/m 3 /day of influent organic volumetric loading rate to achieve a HRT of 12 days until a steady state was reached. A steady state was assumed when the pH, microbial growth, COD of effluent, COD reduction efficiency, VFA, Alkalinity (Alk), biogas production rate and biogas composition were shown to be constant. After ensuring the steady state of SCABR had been attained, the next phase of research studies would be preceded. This preliminary step was followed by a series of continuous experiments using feed flow-rates of 375 mL/day, 450 mL/day, 560 mL/day, 750 mL/day, 1125 mL/day and 2250 mL/day of the wastewater, which corresponding to HRT of 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 days, respectively. For each batch of HRT, the water samples and gaseous samples from the SCABR were collected after 24 hours of input raw POME. In order to analyze the wastewater sample compositions, parameters of the samples such as feed and effluent of COD, VFA and Alk according to American Public Health and Association (APHA) standard methods for water and wastewater analysis (APHA, 2005) were measured. Samples of the produced biogases were analyzed for its composition such as CH 4 , CO 2 and H 2 according to the Standard Method 2720-C gas chromatographic method. The volume of biogas produced was measured manually using the water displacement method. For each batch of HRT, the SCABR was continuously operated until steady state condition was achieved. The steady-state condition was reached when COD reduction efficiency, VFA, biogas production rate and biogas composition were stable for five consecutive days. The steady state

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value of a tested parameter was taken as average value of these consecutive analysis amounts for each batch of HRT. The variation of the actual results from the mean values was <3 %.

3. Results and discussion

3.1. Performance of SCABR

Table 1 illustrates the steady-state operation parameters of SCABR for different hydraulic retention time. Included in the data are the mean values at steady state for POME feed flow rate, organic loading rate (OLR), pH, influent COD, effluent COD, COD reduction efficiency, effluent VFA, VFA, Alk, biogas production rate, biogas productivity, biogas compositions, CH 4 volume and methane yield within each HRT. The standard deviation of five steady state values for each parameter within each HRT is also included.

Table 1. Steady state operation parameters of SCABR at the different HRT.

Parameter

Hydraulic retention time (HRT, Days)

 
 

12

10

8

6

4

2

POME Feed flow rate (L POME fed /day)

0.38

0.45

0.56

0.75

1.13

2.25

OLR (kg COD/m 3 /day )

6.67

7.60

9.45

12.96

19.87

38.29

pH in SCAR

5.26

5.36

5.54

5.53

5.34

5.20

Influent COD (mg/L)

80000

76000

75560

77760

79480

76580

Effluent COD (mg/L)

11420

27590

29370

34340

35370

40230

COD reduction efficiency (%)

87.08

63.87

58.10

54.30

48.18

38.20

VFA in SCABR (mg CH 3 COOH/L) 11569.71 13546.68 15754.29 16314.29 16542.86 16956.00

Total Alkalinity in SCABR (mg CaCO 3 /L)

5902

6620

6650

6728

7492

7712

Biogas production rate (mL biogas/day)

3000

1550

838

714

644

604

Biogas productivity

8

3.44

1.46

0.95

0.55

0.27

(mL biogas/mL

POME fed )

Methane (%)

40.42

32.20

28.85

24.35

21.00

18.28

Carbon dioxide (%)

52.31

59.58

62.51

65.01

66.65

67.77

Hydrogen (%)

7.27

8.22

8.64

10.64

12.35

13.95

Methane volume (L CH 4 /day)

1.21

0.50

0.24

0.17

0.14

0.11

Methane yield (L CH 4 /g

 

COD removed )

0.046

0.023

0.011

0.006

0.004

0.002

*Values are the averages of determinations taken at steady-state period of each HRT. **All gas data normalized to STP (0°C, 1 atm).

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3.2. COD reduction efficiency

437

In Fig. 2, COD reduction efficiency for SCABR operation and cycle period shows a steady increase in the effluent COD concentration before reaching the steady state with the function of cycle period for all the HRT studied except for HRT 12 days. This is due to the wash-out phase of the reactor which was caused by the higher OLR. Hence, the system was stressed to obtain a maximum COD loading rate in a short period of time [8]. Except for the higher HRT (12 days), the COD reduction efficiency of HRT of 12 days showed a steady reduction of effluent COD before reached the steady state. This was because higher HRT would increase the time of contact between substance and biomass.

HRT 12 HRT 10 HRT 8 HRT 6 HRT 4 HRT 2
HRT 12
HRT 10
HRT 8
HRT 6
HRT 4
HRT 2

Fig. 2. Variation in COD removal efficiency of SCABR for various HRT.

The performance of the reactor with respect to substrate reduction (COD reduction) was found to be influenced by the HRT. Table 1 indicates that COD reduction efficiency decreased from 87.08 % to 38.2 % as HRT decreased from 12 days to 2 days, respectively. These findings are consistent with those stated in the journalism [9]. This is because soluble biodegradable materials in the effluent increase with the rise of OLR or decrease of HRT. Such an increase in the effluent COD (or a decrease in the COD reduction efficiency) is paralleled by a similar increase in the VFA concentration, as shown in Table 1. This is became the COD increased drastically during the acidogenesis phase by the dissolution of VFA in the wastewater [10]. It is well known that VFA can cause a depletion of buffering capacity and a depression of pH to levels that inhibit the hydrolysis/acidogenesis phase if present at high concentration [11]. It had been reported that even when process pH was fixed in the optimal range, the accumulation of VFA may contribute to a reduced rate of hydrolysis of the solid organic substrate [12]. Table 1 shows the steady value of COD reduction efficiency was directly proportional to the steady value of CH 4 content but inversely proportional to the steady value of CO 2 formation rate. Toprak has reported that the CH 4 formation rate decreased and the CO 2 production rate increased when COD reduction efficiency decreased [13].

3.3. Volatile fatty acid (VFA) reaction

Fig. 3 depicts VFA as acetic acid produced during the reactor operation. It can be observed that VFA production varied consistently with all HRTs. Relatively lower VFA concentrations were recorded with HRT of 12 days. VFA concentration shows a steady increase from 11382.86 mg CH 3 COOH/L to 11562.86 mg CH 3 COOH/L before attaining steady state. In the case of HRT of 10 days, VFA production

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increased from 10000 mg CH 3 COOH/L and approached 13542.86 mg CH 3 COOH/L before reaching steady state. The VFA concentration increased from 12000 mg CH 3 COOH/L to 15771.43 mg CH 3 COOH/L before reaching steady state for HRT of 8 days. For HRT of 6 days, VFA production increased from 13857.14 mg CH 3 COOH/L and approached 16328.57 mg CH 3 COOH/L before reaching steady state. The VFA concentration increased from 14828.57 mg CH 3 COOH/L to 16585.71 mg CH 3 COOH/L before reaching steady value for HRT of 4 days. Relatively higher VFA concentrations were recorded with HRT of 2 days. The VFA concentration shows a steady increase from 15557.14 mg CH 3 COOH/L to 16971.43 mg CH 3 COOH/L at before reaching steady state. This is because the conversion rate of organic matter to VFA exceeded the conversion rate of VFA to CH 4 in the acidogenic phase [14].

HRT 2 HRT 4 HRT 8 HRT 6 HRT 12 HRT 10
HRT 2
HRT 4
HRT 8
HRT 6
HRT 12
HRT 10

Fig. 3. Variation in volatile fatty acid (VFA) of SCABR for various HRT.

The VFA concentration increased from 11569.71 mg CH 3 COOH/L to 16956.00 mg CH 3 COOH/L when HRT decreased from 12 days to 2 days, respectively as seen in Table 1. This is because low OLR causes low level concentration of VFA at longer HRT, whereas shorter HRT with high OLR causes accumulation of VFA [15]. Moreover, an increase in the VFA was paralleled by a similar increase in the effluent COD concentration (or a decrease in the COD reduction efficiency), as shown in Table 1. Tchobanoglous reported that VFA can increase COD of wastewater during acidogenesis phase [10]. Table 1 also shows that the biogas production rate was inversely proportional to the VFA concentration in the SCABR. This is because methanogens bacteria are unable to work fast enough to convert acetic acid to CH 4 as a result of accumulation of VFA.

3.4. Biogas production rate

Table 1 show that the biogas productivity and production rate of the SCABR was directly proportional to HRT. The biogas productivity and production rates in the SCABR decreased from 8 mL biogas/mL POME fed to 0.27 mL biogas/mL POME fed and from 3000 mL biogas/day to 604 mL biogas/day, respectively, as the HRT decreased from 12 days to 2 days. The VFA concentration was 11569.71 mg CH 3 COOH/L for the HRT of 12 days. However, for the HRT of 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 days, the VFA concentration increased to 13546.68 mg CH 3 COOH/L, 15754.29 mg CH 3 COOH/L, 16314.29 mg CH 3 COOH/L, 16542.86 mg CH 3 COOH/L and 16956.00 mg CH 3 COOH/L, respectively. This accumulation of VFA in the SCABR for the HRT of 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 days are mainly due to the fact that methanogens bacteria could not convert all the acetic acid to CH 4 in the SCABR. Excess VFA were built up in the digester causing inhibition of the methanogenesis process. Therefore, the biogas productivity and production rate decreased. The optimum biogas productivity (8 mL biogas/mL POME fed ) and biogas

Yee-Shian Wong et al. / Procedia Environmental Sciences 18 (2013) 433 – 441

439

production rate (3000 mL biogas/day) with 40.42 % of CH 4 , 52.31 % of CO 2 content and 7.27 % of H 2 content were achieved for the HRT of 12 days.

3.5. Biogas composition

For higher HRT (12 days), the CH 4 and CO 2 contents were almost consistent during the initial period followed by an intense production of CH 4 and CO 2 from 4 th day until 14 th , as shown in Fig. 4. After that the CH 4 and CO 2 became unchanged. The H 2 content gradually increased upon reaching steady state for the HRT of 12 days period. The elevation of the CH 4 content for the HRT of 12 days is because the CH 4 production rate increased with increase COD reduction efficiency as shown in Figure 2. These findings are consistent with those reported in the literature [13]. The increase of CO 2 and H 2 contents for the HRT of 12 days is the consequence of the fermentation (acidogenesis) of the monomers of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids by hydrolytic bacteria [16]. Fig. 4 also shows that biogas composition in SCABR operation and cycle period demonstrated a steady reduction in the CH 4 content, the CO 2 content and a steady rise in the H 2 content before reaching steady state with the function of cycle period with all the HRTs studied except the HRT of 12 days. The reduction of CH 4 content is due to the persistence of acidophilic conditions due to the presence of VFA [17], whereas increase of CO 2 and H 2 contents is due to fermentation (acidogenesis) of the monomers of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids which can produce H 2 and CO 2 [16].

80 HRT 12 Days HRT 10 Days HRT 8 Days HRT 6 Days HRT 4
80
HRT 12 Days
HRT 10 Days
HRT 8 Days
HRT 6 Days
HRT 4 Days
HRT 2 Days
70
60
50
CH4
40
CO2
H2
30
20
10
0
1
4
7
10
13
16
`19
22
25
28
31
34
37
40
43
46
49
52
55
58
61
64
67
70
73
76
79
82
85
88
BiogasProduction ( %)

Operation Days

Fig. 4. Variation in biogas composition of SCABR for various HRT.

The contents of CH 4 , CO 2 and H 2 produced during the steady-state period for different HRT are shown in Table 1. The steady state CH 4 percentage decreased from 40.42 % to 18.28 % with decrease of HRT from 12 days to 2 days, respectively. The optimal CH 4 percentage of 40.42 % was obtained with the highest HRT (12 days). A decrease in the steady value of CH 4 content is caused by an increase in VFA concentration and decrease in COD reduction efficiency as shown in Table 1. This is because high OLR was characterized by high concentration of VFA for the lower HRT, which can explain why the

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methanogenic process was inhibited. Besides that, Toprak has reported that the CH 4 content decreased when COD reduction efficiency and HRT decreased [13]. The steady state of CO 2 and H 2 contents increased from 52.31 % to 67.77 % and from 7.27 % to 13.95 %, respectively when decreased from 12 days to 2 days HRT. The optimal CO 2 and H 2 percentages of 67.77 % and 13.95 %, respectively, were obtained with the lowest HRT. Such an increase in the CO 2 and H 2 contents was paralleled by a similar increase in the VFA, as illustrated in Table 1. This is because of the fermentation (acidogenesis) process that produces VFA, CO 2 , H 2 and lactic acid becomes more active for low HRT compared to high HRT. The steady value of CO 2 content was inversely proportional to the steady value of COD reduction efficiency as shown in Table 1. This finding is consistent with the results of Toprak [13]. Furthermore, CO 2 is the principal gas generated during the acidogenesis phases and smaller amounts of H 2 gas will also be produced [10].

4. Conclusion

Acidogenesis anaerobic treatment using a SCABR was highly effective for the purification of POME and the production of biogas from POME for different HRT between 12 days and 2 days. High stability and good performance of the SCABR were accomplished and maintained. The highest methane yield with HRT of 12 days was 0.042 L CH 4 /g COD reduction . Biogas productivity at 8 ml biogas/ml POME fed was higher than those reported in the literature.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to University Sains Malaysia Research University (RU) grant: 1001/PTEKIND/814160 of financial support, School of Environmental Engineering of University Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) and MALPOM Industries Sdn Bhd.

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