A comparative study on the treatment of synthetic kraft evaporator condensate was conducted using thermophilic (55°C) and mesophilic (30°C) membrane aerated biofilm reactors (MABRs) and sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) for 8 months. Under tested conditions, a chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiency of 80–95% was achieved with both thermophilic and mesophilic MABRs and SBRs. The COD removal efficiency of thermophilic MABR (80–90%) was slightly lower than that of the mesophilic MABR (85–95%) and the thermophilic SBR (90–95%). A significant amount (13–37%) of COD was stripped by conventional aeration in the SBRs, while stripping in MABRs was negligible. Simultaneous COD removal and denitrification were observed in the mesophilic MABR, while the thermophilic MABR contributed mainly for COD removal. Nitrification was not significant in both the thermophilic and mesophilic MABRs. The results suggest that treatment of kraft evaporator condensate is feasible with the use of both thermophilic and mesophilic MABRs in terms of COD removal with the advantages of negligible stripping.
Keywords: COD removal, kraft evaporator condensate, membrane aerated biofilm bioreactor, thermophilic treatment