Experiences with anaerobic treatment of fat-containing food waste liquids: two full scale studies with a novel anaerobic flotation reactor

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Fat-containing food waste can be effectively treated in a new type of reactor, the so-called BIOPAQ-Anaerobic Flotation Reactor or BIOPAQ® anaerobic flotation reactor (AFR). In the reactor a flotation unit is integrated to retain the sludge. In this study results from two plants with a 430 and 511 m3-AFR, respectively, are presented. In one reactor, which is fed with water originating from different food liquid streams, over 99% of fat and oils were removed. Over 90% of the chemical oxygen demand (COD) was removed. When the last solids were removed from the effluent with a tilted plate settler, 98% COD removal was attained. The effluent concentrations of extractable hydrolysed and non-hydrolysed fats were less than 40 mg/l. Apparently the variations in the liquid streams deriving from the tank cleaning activities did not disturb the system. Only extremely high concentrations of fats could disturb the system, but the inhibition was reversible. In the reactor treating water from an ice-cream factory, which contained fats up to approximately 50% of influent COD, a COD removal efficiency of 90% was achieved. At volumetric loading rates varying from 1 to 8 kg COD/m3/d, biogas was produced at an average specific gas production of 0.69 m3/kg COD–removed.

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