The modelling of a falling sludge bed reactor using AQUASIM

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This dissertation details the modelling of a Falling Sludge Bed Reactor (FSBR) using AQUASIM. This study is one of the first of a series of projects investigating the design and use of this novel bioreactor for enhanced hydrolysis of particulate organic matter. The main feature of this bioreactor is the increased solids retention time obtained by allowing the solid matter to settle into three valleys, while the aqueous phase exits with a relatively short retention time. The main aim of this project was to identify the state of the art regarding mathematical modelling of anaerobic digestion and biological sulfate reduction, to select rate equations from the literature that would simulate the various interactions taking place in the FSBR being fed a mixture of organic matter and acid mine drainage, and to investigate the trends obtained from the an AQUASIM model of the system. This would then serve as a basis for further projects, which would include identification of the enzymatic interactions in the FSBR, kinetic studies of critical processes not available in the current literature, and the development of a more complex mathematical model that would include factors other than the biological processes.

Includes bibliographical references.