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Bioengineering 2017, 4(2), 54; doi:10.3390/bioengineering4020054

Polyhydroxyalkanoate Production on Waste Water Treatment Plants: Process Scheme, Operating Conditions and Potential Analysis for German and European Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plants

1
TBF + Partner AG, Herrenberger Strasse 14, 71032 Boeblingen, Germany
2
Department of Resource Efficient Wastewater Technology, University of Kaiserslautern, Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 14, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Martin Koller
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 2 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 June 2017 / Published: 6 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Production)
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Abstract

This work describes the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) as a side stream process on a municipal waste water treatment plant (WWTP) and a subsequent analysis of the production potential in Germany and the European Union (EU). Therefore, tests with different types of sludge from a WWTP were investigated regarding their volatile fatty acids (VFA) production-potential. Afterwards, primary sludge was used as substrate to test a series of operating conditions (temperature, pH, retention time (RT) and withdrawal (WD)) in order to find suitable settings for a high and stable VFA production. In a second step, various tests regarding a high PHA production and stable PHA composition to determine the influence of substrate concentration, temperature, pH and cycle time of an installed feast/famine-regime were conducted. Experiments with a semi-continuous reactor operation showed that a short RT of 4 days and a small WD of 25% at pH = 6 and around 30 °C is preferable for a high VFA production rate (PR) of 1913 mgVFA/(L×d) and a stable VFA composition. A high PHA production up to 28.4% of cell dry weight (CDW) was reached at lower substrate concentration, 20 °C, neutral pH-value and a 24 h cycle time. A final step a potential analysis, based on the results and detailed data from German waste water treatment plants, showed that the theoretically possible production of biopolymers in Germany amounts to more than 19% of the 2016 worldwide biopolymer production. In addition, a profound estimation regarding the EU showed that in theory about 120% of the worldwide biopolymer production (in 2016) could be produced on European waste water treatment plants. View Full-Text
Keywords: biopolymer; municipal sewage plant; PHA; primary sludge; VFA biopolymer; municipal sewage plant; PHA; primary sludge; VFA
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Pittmann, T.; Steinmetz, H. Polyhydroxyalkanoate Production on Waste Water Treatment Plants: Process Scheme, Operating Conditions and Potential Analysis for German and European Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plants. Bioengineering 2017, 4, 54.

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