Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor for High-Strength Wastewater Treatment
The beer brewing industry often uses anaerobic digestion to produce biogas from its high-strength organic wastewater while decreasing the organic loading of effluent discharged to municipal wastewater treatment plants. One potential bioreactor design for breweries is the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR), which retains suspended biomass by membrane separation. This thesis used a lab-scale AnMBR to evaluate startup under batch and continuous feeding operation at low organic loading rates. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal greater than 85% was achieved in less than two months during batch operation at 2 gCOD/L/day. Continuous operation achieved COD removal above 95% at 2 gCOD/L/day. Additionally, a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay was optimized to quantify methanogen populations at the order and family level in anaerobic digestion processes using SYBR Green. The qPCR showed a shift in dominance from Methanosarcinaceae to Methanosaetaceae between batch and continuous operation at the same organic loading rate.