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American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 5  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 639 - 646

Co-Digestion of Palm Oil Mill Effluent and Refined Glycerin Wash Water for Chemical Oxygen Demand Removal and Methane Production

A. Sulaiman, M.R. Zakaria, M.A. Hassan, Y. Shirai and Z. Busu    

Abstract: Problem statement: Refined Glycerin Wash Water (RGWW) from the oleochemical industry contains high Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and requires proper treatment before disposal. Unfortunately the wash water also contains high concentration of sodium chloride (NaCl) that could cause inhibition to the normal biological treatment process. However, there is feasibility of co-digesting the RGWW and Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) for its treatment and methane recovery. Approach: A large 500 m3 semi-commercial closed digester tank was used to study the effect of co-digesting POME and RGWW under mesophilic condition at different RGWW percentage. The digester performance in terms of COD removal efficiency and methane production rate and stability based on total Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA) accumulation, Mixed Liquor Volatile Suspended Solid (MLVSS) and pH were evaluated. Results: At 1.0% of RGWW co-digested, both COD removal efficiency and methane production rate showed satisfactory results with higher than 90% and 505 m3 day-1, respectively. However, once the percentage was increased to a maximum of 5.25%, COD removal efficiency remains high but the methane production rate reduced significantly down to 307 m3 day-1. At this stage, the digester was already unstable with high total VFA recorded of 913 mg L-1 and low cells concentration of 8.58 g L-1. This was probably due to the effect of plasmolysis on the methanogens at high concentration of NaCl in the digester of nearly 4000 mg L-1. Conclusion: Co-digesting of RGWW with high NaCl content and POME is satisfactory for COD removal but not for increasing the methane production.

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