Pretreated Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) Digestion in an Up-Flow Anaerobic Sludge Fixed Film Bioreactor: a Comparative Study


1 Biochemical & Chemical Engineering, Noshirvani University of Technology, Babol

2 Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Sains Malaysia

3 Chemical Engineering, University of Sains Malaysia

4 School of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia

5 Applied Chemistry, Razi University


An up-flow anaerobic sludge fixed film (UASFF) bioreactor was used to treat the pretreated palm oil mill effluent (POME). In physical pretreatment, POME was pre-settled for 2 h and the supernatant was fed into the reactor. In chemical pretreatment, optimum dosages of cationic and anionic polymers were used. Experiments of pretreated POME digestion were conducted based on a central composite face-centered design (CCFD) with two independent operating variables, feed flow rate (QF) and up-flow velocity (Vup). The operating variables were varied to cover a wide range of organic loading rate (OLR) from 3.8 to 29 g COD/l.d. A stable TCOD removal efficiency of 83.5% was achieved at the highest QF (3.31 l/d, corresponding to OLR of 26 g COD/l.d) for pre-settled POME whereas only 62.2% TCOD removal was achieved with chemically pretreated POME at QF of 7.63 l/d (corresponding to OLR of 29 g COD/l.d) and that too was coupled with process instability. At comparable OLRs i.e. 16.95 g COD/l.d (QF=2.16 l/d) for pre-settled POME and 16.42 g COD/l.d (QF=4.32 l/d) for chemically pretreated POME, the VFA concentrations for the two cases were also similar.