A mathematical model for the optimal design and operation of an anaerobic co-digestion plant
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The anaerobic co-digestion of high strength industrial wastewaters in centralised plants receiving effluents from various local small scale industries is considered to be superior than individual small scale treatment plants. An approach is proposed to systematically tackle co-digestion problems, with respect to both biological and engineering models. In a steady-state mathematical model presented, the effect of combining wastewaters in mixtures, based on major component groups (i.e. lipids, hydrocarbons and proteins), is systematically accounted for. The model is then solved via a non-linear optimisation program (NLP) which results in the determination of an optimal design of the necessary reactors and their respective layout, by balancing the natural trade-offs between reactor and post-treatment costs (due to high pollutants emissions). The preparation of appropriate mixtures is the major parameter controlled. The applicability and potential of the model are demonstrated with a small example.