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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 2020

Project Overview

7-101 Wazne
Photo courtesy Alyce Abi Shdid  
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:

7-101 Wazne wastewater collection
Industrial wastewater collection - photo courtesy of Dr. Wazne
 During January-March 2020  period, PI Dr. Wazne reports, that the research team started the co-digestion experiments using the six 5-L anaerobic digestion reactors. Preparatory work is ongoing to start the microbial enrichment work, and the research team continues to work with the manufacturer of the 20-L anaerobic tank reactor to restart the reactor. The project received a supplemental PEER U.S. Government (USG)-Supported Partner travel grant to enable PEER USG partner to visit the PI and to provide guidance on the ongoing experimental work. As a result of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, travel plans for the time being have been postponed. Once institutional and travel operations revert to normal, the co-digestions experiments are expected to be completed within a few months. Upon completion of the co-digestion experiments, a white paper will be written and distributed to stakeholders. 

Media Updates:

The "Win-Win" in Wasterwater Treatment, by Alyce Abi Shdid

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