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Evaluation of acidogenic and methanogenic anaerobic reactors in the treatment of vinasse and whey without alkalination

Grant number: 17/06940-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2017
Effective date (End): July 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering - Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment
Principal researcher:Marcelo Zaiat
Grantee:Jaqueline Cardoso Ribeiro
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/06246-7 - Biorefinery concept applied to biological wastewater treatment plants: environmental pollution control coupled with material and energy recovery, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):19/25341-1 - Exploring the valorization of fats into volatile fatty acids by anaerobic mixed culture fermentation, BE.EP.DR


Sugarcane vinasse and cheese whey are highly polluting and high volume effluents being the main waste from the ethanol and dairy production process, with an approximate value of 14 liters of vinasse generated per liter of ethanol produced and the whey representing about 80 to 90% of the milk volume. Both vinasse and whey are complex effluents that can be highly harmful to the environment in areas where they are discarded because of their high organic content and low pH. Both effluents have viability of treatment through anaerobic digestion and have energy recovery potential as hydrogen and methane, but alkalinity supplementation is essential for the stability of such processes generating additional costs with alkalinizers that will be proportional to the amount of treated effluent, which can make the treatment of these effluents in real scale very expensive. In view of such a problem, the study conducted by Mota and Zaiat (2016) proved to be very promising as a solution because the authors verified the feasibility of no pH control in acidogenic reactors for hydrogen production, obtaining continuous, stable production and satisfactory long-term hydrogen gas yield in an environment with a pH lower than 3.0. Based on this, the focus of this study is to evaluate the application of single stage and two stage anaerobic reactors for energy recovery in the form of methane and hydrogen without pH control in the treatment of vinasse and cheese whey and establish the best operating conditions to obtain the highest possible energy production concomitant with a satisfactory treatment efficiency of such effluents. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
RIBEIRO, JAQUELINE CARDOSO; MOTA, VERA TAINA; DE OLIVEIRA, VALERIA MAIA; ZAIAT, MARCELO. Hydrogen and organic acid production from dark fermentation of cheese whey without buffers under mesophilic condition. Journal of Environmental Management, v. 304, FEB 15 2022. Web of Science Citations: 0.
RIBEIRO, JAQUELINE CARDOSO; MOTA, VERA TAINA; DE OLIVEIRA, VALERIA MAIA; DACANAL, GUSTAVO CESAR; ZAIAT, MARCELO. Hydrogen and organic acid production from dark fermentation of sugarcane vinasse without buffers in mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, DEC 2021. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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