Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

Limitations of thermophilic anaerobic wastewater treatment and the consequences for process design

  • Jules B. van Lier


Thermophilic anaerobic digestion offers an attractive alternative for the treatment of medium- and high-strength wastewaters. However, literature reports reveal that thermophilic wastewater treatment systems are often more sensitive to environmental changes than the well-defined high-rate reactors at the mesophilic temperature range. Also, in many cases a poorer effluent quality is experienced while the carry over of suspended solids in the effluent is relatively high. In this paper recent achievements are discussed regarding the process stability of thermophilic anaerobic wastewater treatment systems. Laboratory experiments reveal a relatively low sensitivity to temperature changes if high-rate reactors with immobilized biomass are used. Other results show that if a staged process is applied, thermophilic reactors can be operated for prolonged periods of time under extreme loading conditions (80–100 kg chemical oxygen, while the concentrations of volatile fatty acids in the effluent remain at a low level.

Key words

anaerobic biogas production rate high-rate inhibition plug-flow thermophilic volatile fatty acids wastewater treatment 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jules B. van Lier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental TechnologyWageningen Agricultural UniversityWageningenthe Netherlands

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