Treatment of thin stillage in a high-rate anaerobic fluidized bed bioreactor (AFBR)

Mehran Andalib, Hisham Hafez, Elsayed Elbeshbishy, George Nakhla, Jesse Zhu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


The primary objective of this work was to investigate the treatability of thin stillage as a by-product of bioethanol production plants using an anaerobic fluidized bed bioreactor (AFBR) employing zeolite with average diameter of (dm) of 425-610μm and specific surface area (SSA) of 26.5m2/g as the carrier media. Despite the very high strength of thin stillage with chemical oxygen demand of 130,000mgTCOD/L and suspended solids of 47,000mgTSS/L, the AFBR showed up to 88% TCOD and 78% TSS removal at very high organic and solids loading rates (OLR and SLR) of 29kg COD/m3d and 10.5kgTSS/m3d respectively and hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 3.5days. Methane production rates of up to 160L/d at the steady state equivalent to 40LCH4/Lthin stillaged and biogas production rate per reactor volume of 15.8Lgas/Lreactord were achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluidized bed bioreactor
  • High rate anaerobic digester
  • Suspended solids
  • Thin stillage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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