The development of a kinetic model for biological sulphate reduction with primary sewage sludge as substrate

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Central to this process is biological sulphate reduction (BSR) using primary sewage sludge (PSS) as the electron donor and organic carbon source, with the concomitant reduction of sulphate to sulphide and production of carbonate alkalinity. To optimise the design, operation and control of BSR with PSS, a mathematical kinetic model of this system would be an invaluable aid. This study describes the development of such a kinetic model, and its application to a series of experimental lab-scale BSR systems fed PSS and sulphate. The biological processes of importance require inclusion in a kinetic model for BSR. For the biologically mediated processes, the PSS first requires hydrolysis/solubilisation (usually the rate limiting step) and acidification, mediated by the acidogenic group of organisms, in common with sewage sludge methanogenic anaerobic digestion systems. The products of these processes, the Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA) then enter into the methanogenic or sulphate reduction processes, which operate in competition. The end product of sulphate reduction is sulphide, which is inhibitory to the methanogens, and this inhibition would have to be included in the model.

Includes bibliographical references.