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Dr. Fatihah Suja

Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


Talk Title
 A Technological Overview of Anaerobic Biofilm Digester for Greenhouse Gas Emission, Economics and Energy Efficiency in Municipal Solid Waste Leachate Treatment in Malaysia

Talk Abstract

In solid waste management, treating putrid leachate is one of the most challenging parts especially in Malaysia which has hot and humid weather and raining season throughout the year. In Malaysia, most of landfills especially open dumping sites have no treatment system for leachate. Leachate pollution has become a more serious problem these recent years as lack of proper treatment facilities at waste disposal sites affected the quality of water supply due to the penetration of leachate into the groundwater table and its discharge into the rivers. Treatment of leachate is very complicated, expensive and requires various process applications due to high and varying concentrations of its contents. A closed system utilising Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is recommended since the release of AD by-products could be avoided or even exploited in a combined heat and power installation for the simultaneous generation of heat and electricity. The attractiveness of biogas technology for large-scale applications has been limited primarily because of the slow rate and process instability of anaerobic digestion. This slow rate means that large digester volumes, and consequently greater costs and space requirements, are needed. Whilst, process instability is due to variation of inhibitory substances such as ammonia, sulfide, heavy metals, and salts organics. The performance of a demonstration unit of Anaerobic Biofilm Digester (ABD) for the treatment of leachate from a municipal waste transfer station was evaluated. This high-rate anaerobic reactor employs cell immobilisation techniques of biofilm on High-density Polyethylene plastic media. The condition of ABD was firstly optimized to enable biomass acclimatization during process start-up before it was operated under hydraulic retention time sequence of 30-day, 25-day, 20-day and 10-day for 163 days under mesophilic condition. Despite the leachate complex characteristics, the system showed great performance given its average COD, BOD5, and total phosphorus removal efficiencies of 98±1%, 99±1% and 92±9% respectively. The system was stable throughout its operation and showed optimal average values for the monitored parameters such as pH (7.53±0.14), total volatile fatty acid (79±66 mg HOAc/L), alkalinity (10,919±1556 mg CaCO3/L) and a non-toxic value for accumulated ammonia (960±106 mg NH3-N/L). Measurement of the average daily biogas production yielded a value of 25±1 m3/day throughout the system’s operation with a composition of 57±12% methane and 26±6% carbon dioxide. This showcase of high performance is due to the biofilm technology used which has successfully retained 67±4% of solid contents in the digester, leading to long solid retention time which are 105, 91, 97 and 56 days for 30-day, 25-day, 20-day and 10-day HRTs respectively, keeping the microbial community in the digester ready for optimum leachate treatment. Problems of untreated leachate could be solved by the ABD system. The anaerobic biofilm digester system requires small footprint which could solve the ‘lack of space’ problem in installing the treatment system at landfills and transfer stations. Other than treating leachate, this system is also recommended for treating other high strength wastewater or sludge..

Short Biography
Ir Dr Fatihah Suja is a lecturer at the Center for Smart and Sustainable Township (SUTRA) of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Quality and Strategy of the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment. She was awarded BSc in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University, Potsdam, USA. She then holds a MSc in Chemical Engineering from UKM and PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom. She has been involved with 20 years of green technology research and has operated various projects using industrial, ministry, or university grants. She is also active in consultation work with industry and government agencies.
Talk Keywords
Leachate; Municipal solid waste; Anaerobic biofilm digester.
Target Audience
Students, Post doctoral, Industry, Doctors and professors
Speaker-intro video

The International Conference on Innovative Applied Energy (IAPE’18)