Kinetics of Anaerobic Sulphate Reduction in Immobilised Cell Bioreactors

by Baskaran, Vikrama Krishnan

Abstract (Summary)
Many industrial activities discharge sulphate- and metal-containing wastewaters, including the manufacture of pulp and paper, mining and mineral processing, and petrochemical industries. Acid mine drainage (AMD) is an example of such sulphate- and metal-containing waste streams. Formation of AMD is generally the result of uncontrolled oxidation of the sulphide minerals present in the terrain in which the drainage flows with concomitant leaching of the metals. Acid mine drainage (AMD) and other sulphate- and metal-containing waste streams are amenable to active biological treatment. Anaerobic reduction of sulphate, reaction of produced sulphide with metal ions present in the waste stream, and biooxidation of excess sulphide are three main sub-processes involved in the active biotreatment of AMD. Anaerobic reduction of sulphate can be achieved in continuous stirred tank bioreactors with freely suspended cells or in immobilized cell bioreactors. The application of freely suspended cells in a continuous system dictates a high residence time to prevent cell wash-out, unless a biomass recycle stream is used. In an immobilized cell system biomass residence time becomes uncoupled from the hydraulic residence time, thus operation of bioreactor at shorter residence times becomes possible. In the present work, kinetics of anaerobic sulphate reduction was studied in continuous immobilized cell packed-bed bioreactors. Effects of carrier matrix, concentration of sulphate in the feed and sulphate volumetric loading rate on the performance of the bioreactor were investigated. The bioreactor performance, in terms of sulphate reduction rate, was dependent on the nature of the carrier matrix, specifically the total surface area which was provided by the matrix for the establishment of biofilm. Among the three tested carrier matrices, sand displayed the superior performance and the maximum volumetric reduction rate of 1.7 g/L-h was achieved at the shortest residence time of 0.5 h. This volumetric reduction rate was 40 and 8 folds faster than the volumetric reduction rates obtained with glass beads (0.04 g/L-h; residence time: 28.6 h) and foam BSP (0.2 g/L-h; residence time: 5.3 h), respectively. Further kinetic studies with sand as a carrier matrix indicated that the extent of volumetric reduction rate was dependent on the feed sulphate concentration and volumetric loading rate. At a constant feed sulphate concentration, increases in volumetric loading rate caused the volumetric reduction rate to pass through a maximum, while increases in feed sulphate concentrations from 1.0 g/L to 5.0 g/L led to lower volumetric reduction rates. The maximum volumetric reduction rates achieved in the bioreactors fed with initial sulphate concentration of 1.0, 2.5 and 5.0 g/L were 1.71, 0.82 and 0.68 g/L-h, respectively. The coupling of lactate utilization to sulphate reduction was observed in all experimental runs and the rates calculated based on the experimental data were in close agreement with calculated theoretical rates, using the stoichiometry of the reactions involved. The maximum volumetric reduction rates achieved in the immobilized cell bioreactors were significantly faster than those reported for freely suspended cells employed in the stirred tank bioreactors.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Peng, Jian; Nemati, Mehdi; Lin, Yen-Han; Evitts, Richard W.

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:biokinetics immobilized cells sulphate reducing bacteria anaerobic processes acid mine drainage packed bed bioreactors


Date of Publication:11/08/2005

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