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Cycle 7 (2018 Deadline)

Advancing anaerobic digestion in the upper Litani basin for industrial wastewater treatment

PI: Mahmoud Wazne (, Lebanese American University (LAU)
U.S. Partner: Haluk Beyenal, Washington State University
Dates: January 2019 - December 2021

Project Overview

7-101 Wazne
Photo courtesy Alyce Abi Shdid  
7-101 Wazne wastewater collection
Industrial wastewater collection - photo courtesy of Dr. Wazne
The project aims at advancing the use of anaerobic digestion treatment in the upper Litani basin and improving the treatment performance for organic industrial wastewater discharge. The main project objectives are to (1) demonstrate the applicability of anaerobic digestion and test co-digestion of combined waste streams, (2) enhance the anaerobic digestion treatment performance based on a newly developed integrated bio-electrochemical reactor technology, and (3) increase public awareness about anaerobic digestion for industrial wastewater discharge and train young researchers on this sustainable treatment option.

An innovative approach in this research is the use of co-digestion (combined substrates) of the industrial wastewater discharge. Realizing that mono-digestion (single substrate) may fail or achieve low yield, co-digestion of wastewater from multiple industries can provide a balance in substrate nutrients which will result in improved treatment results. Co-digestion of combined waste streams can also provide potential collaborative treatment modalities among the industrial wastewater generators resulting in the reduction of the required capital cost. Enhancement of the anaerobic treatment performance based on a newly developed integrated bio-electrochemical reactor technology is a cross-disciplinary integrative research project which will be utilizing and build on complementary expertise of the PEER team and the U.S. partner combining keen understanding of the electron transfer processes in the electrochemically active biofilms (sludge granules) and the environmental engineering expertise to transform microscale findings into a scaled up treatment.

The project is anticipated to raise public awareness about anaerobic digestion as a sustainable treatment for organic industrial wastewater discharge through a series of workshops and a best practices document on anaerobic digestion. The project will involve undergraduate and graduate students and prepare them for careers in the fields of anaerobic digestion treatment.

Summary of Recent Activities:

During April - June 2021 reporting period, experimental work was resumed. Anaerobic digestion experiments are ongoing using the 20-L reactor. The microbial enrichment experiments are also ongoing. DNA samples are being prepared for sequencing to delineate the role of different bacteria in the treatment process and to serve as a base line for enrichment
A virtual workshop on project results is scheduled to take place July 28, 2021, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM Beirut time. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of anaerobic digestion of organic waste including biogas production as well as different treatment options which apply to the organic waste produced in the upper Litani basin. Experimental results for the treatment of three different waste streams collected from the upper Litani basin will be presented, which indicate the high efficacy of the treatment.

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