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Biotech Company Looks for Solution to Treat Challenging Wastewater

ADI-BVF® reactor helps Sucroal S.A meet environmental regulations and reduce energy costs

Sucroal S.A. (formerly Sucromiles S.A.) is a biotechnology company based out of Cali, Colombia. The company, which is part of the Ardila Lülle organization, operates two product manufacturing divisions: one that produces food ingredients and another that produces solvents and alcohols. Collectively, Sucroal S.A. supplies raw materials to the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and solvent sectors, and prides itself on its continued sustainability and innovation.


The wastewater generated from the products Sucroal manufactures is strong and can be challenging to treat. This type of wastewater, however, is ideal for anaerobic pretreatment.

Sucroal conducted research into solutions and learned that ADI Systems had developed proprietary technologies designed specifically for difficult-to-treat wastewaters and could even help the company convert its waste into green energy. Sucroal was curious to see if ADI Systems could reliably treat its wastewater and meet the strict effluent limits it was facing.


ADI Systems wanted Sucroal to be confident it had selected the right wastewater treatment solution. Prior to the full-scale project, pilot studies were conducted on site to test two different upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) technologies: the conventional high-rate UASB and the low-rate ADI-BVF® reactor. It performed very well, consistently removing over 90% percent of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) from the wastewater at loadings up to 2.5 kg COD/m3.d.

The proprietary BVF® reactor was chosen over the conventional UASB because of its operational simplicity, high performance, and cost. This decision led to the design and construction of a full-scale system consisting of a 37,000 m3 (9.8 MG) BVF reactor by ADI Systems.


Thanks to ADI Systems’ treatment technology, the overall BOD removal from Sucroal’s wastewater is over 95%. The company did not have to sacrifice performance for simplicity, and it is now able to reliably meet strict discharge limits.

Complying with environmental regulations was the main objective for Sucroal; however, as a result of its wastewater treatment selection, the company also benefits from a waste-to-energy solution. The biogas recovered from the BVF reactor is captured and used to fire a 590 kW (800 hp) boiler, helping to reduce energy costs.