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Thermophilic anaerobic treatment of industrial process waters and wastewaters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-587
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


In many water-intensive industries, high manufacturing temperatures generate hot and concentrated process waters and wastewater fractions. Thermophilic anaerobic treatment offers an attractive alternative to the treatment of these hot streams. Thermophilic treatment could be applied as an external treatment system or as an internal purification unit in closed water circuits combined, e.g., with membranes. The benefits of the thermophilic anaerobic process as compared to the mesophilic one would be an increased loading rate and the avoidance of cooling before treatment and reheating if the water is recirculated. We have conducted laboratory- and pilot-scale studies on thermophilic anaerobic treatment of hot process waters and wastewater streams from the pulp and paper industry and from vegetable processing. These studies have demonstrated a successful startup of thermophilic processes using mesophilic inocula. The performance of the anaerobic processes was stable at 55°C as well as at 70°C. At 55°C, the COD removals were comparable to those in mesophilic processes, while at 70°C the removals were slightly lower. Higher loading rates were achieved at 55°C than at 70°C. Acetate was utilized at temperatures as high as 80°C, while propionate conversion was severely limited or completely inhibited at temperatures ≥70≥C. Sulfate reduction occurred readily with acetate both at 55 and 70≥C.