Industrial wastewaters containing high concentrations of sulphate, such as those generated by mining, metallurgical and mineral processing industries, require electron donor for biological sulfidogenesis. In this study, five types of lignocellulosic biowastes were characterized as potential low-cost slow release electron donors for application in a continuously operated sulphidogenic inverse fluidized bed bioreactor (IFBB). Among them, natural scourer and cork were selected due to their high composition of volatile solids (VS), viz. 89.1 and 96.3%, respectively. Experiments were performed in batch (47 days) and in an IFBB (49 days) using synthetic sulphate-rich wastewater. In batch, the scourer gave higher sulphate reduction rates (67.7 mg SO4 2− L−1 day−1) in comparison to cork (12.1 mg SO4 2− L−1 day−1), achieving >82% sulphate reduction efficiencies. In the IFBB packed with the natural scourer, the average sulphate reduction efficiency was 24 (±17)%, while the volumetric sulphate reduction rate was 167 (±117) mg SO4 2− L−1 day−1. The long incubation time in the batch experiments (47 days) allowed higher sulphate reduction efficiencies in comparison to the short hydraulic retention time (24 h) in the IFBB. This suggests the hydrolysis-fermentation was the rate-limiting step and the electron donor supply (through hydrolysis of the lignocellulosic biowaste) was limiting the sulphate reduction.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 12, 2017
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