Main content area

Food waste-derived volatile fatty acids platform using an immersed membrane bioreactor

Wainaina, Steven, Parchami, Mohsen, Mahboubi, Amir, Horváth, Ilona Sárvári, Taherzadeh, Mohammad J.
Bioresource technology 2019 v.274 pp. 329-334
anaerobic digestion, biogas, cleaning, fermentation, food waste, membrane bioreactors, pH, volatile fatty acids
Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) are the key intermediates from anaerobic digestion (AD) process that can be a platform to synthesize products of higher value than biogas. However, some obstacles still exist that prevent large-scale production and application of VFAs, key among them being the difficulty in recovering the acids from the fermentation medium and low product yields. In this study, a novel anaerobic immersed membrane bioreactor (iMBR) with robust cleaning capabilities, which incorporated frequent backwashing to withstand the complex AD medium, was designed and applied for production and in situ recovery of VFAs. The iMBR was fed with food waste and operated without pH control, achieving a high yield of 0.54 g VFA/g VSadded. The continuous VFA recovery process in the iMBR was investigated for 40 days at OLRs of 2 gVS/L/d and 4 gVS/L/d without significant change in the permeate flux at a maximum suspended solids concentration of 31 g/L.