Anaerobic Basics and Advantages

Anaerobic treatment converts the organic pollutants (COD, BOD) in wastewater into a small amount of sludge and a large amount of biogas (= methane gas + carbon dioxide), while leaving some pollution unremoved. Aerobic processes in contrast produce a lot of excess sludge, and no biogas, while also leaving some pollution, though less than after anaerobic treatment, unremoved.

The main advantages, particularly for bigger plants, are:
+ Low operating costs 
+ Low space requirements 
+ Valuable biogas production 
+ Low sludge production

Conversion chart

In the absence of oxygen, many different groups of anaerobic bacteria "work" together to degrade complex organic pollutants in methane and carbon dioxide. The microbiology is more complex and delicate than in case of aerobic processes, were most bacteria "work" individually. As a result anaerobic systems require more control and monitoring systems to operate successfully. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages, but for treatment of industrial wastewaters, the advantages of anaerobic systems are most often predominant.

Industrial wastewaters are usually highly loaded with organic pollutants and can therefore be treated advantageously by means of anaerobic processes.  Varying wastewater components and the wide range of possible COD concentrations however require the use of different anaerobic reactor types, each adapted to the specific situation.

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