College of Environment and Resources, Dalian Minzu University, 18 Liaohe West Road, Dalian, 116600, China; School of Municipal and Environmental Engineering, Jilin Jianzhu University, Xincheng Street 5088, ChangChun, 130118, China. Electronic address: [Email]
This paper focused on the performance of an up-flow bio-electrochemical system (UBES) for treating the β-lactams pharmaceutical wastewater under different hydraulic retention time (HRT). UBES is added a bio-electrochemical system below the three-phase separator based on up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB). Comparisons of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal, accumulation of volatile fatty acid (VFA) and biogas production were investigated during the 316-day operation time, which was divided into five parts with HRT of 96 h, 72 h, 48 h, 36 h and 20 h, respectively. The average COD removal efficiency of UBES could reach 45.3 ± 7.5%, 72.2 ± 3.5%, 86.2 ± 1.4%, 75.9 ± 1.8% and 64.9 ± 2.0%, which were 2.4%, 6.1%, 6.4%, 10.2%, 8.7% more than those of UASB under different HRTs, respectively. Biogas production as well as methane production of UBES were significantly higher than UASB during the whole changing HRT process, the maximum methane yield of UBES was 0.31 ± 0.07 L/gCODremoved. Accumulation of VFA in UBES was discovered to be lighter than UASB, the minimum average VFA in UBES was 131.9 ± 18.5 mg/L, which was obtained at HRT of 48 h. These results proved that UBES can slow down the inhibition of VFA on methanogens to make sure a good performance on COD removal and biogas production than UASB. Moreover, the relationships between methane production and VFA, biogas production and COD consumption were analyzed. A cost and benefit were analyzed for evaluating the potential of UBES in practical applications compared with UASB. Finally, radial basis function neural network (RBFNN) model was developed and fitted well with the experimental data, which can be employed to predict the effluent quality of the UBES and UASB.