The distillery industry represents one of the most water-intensive and polluting industries in the world. There is a need for cost-effective and energy-efficient treatment processes for distillery wastewater (DWW). This study aims to optimize and demonstrate a cost-effective and resource recovery-based distillery wastewater treatment process at the pilot-scale. Integrated two-stage granular sludge-based bioreactors will be used to achieve energy recovery, nutrient reduction, and water reuse. Control strategies will be developed to optimize energy, nutrient, and water recovery. The study could have significant implications for the distillery industry and other industries facing similar wastewater treatment challenges.

The process is designed for treating high-strength (high COD, BOD, ammonia, phosphorous and TSS) wastewater and has good resistance to influent variations. It is applicable for treating wastewater from not only distilleries, but also the winery and brewery industries. It can also be used to treat wastewater from other food and beverage industries. The flexibility and robustness of the process offer great potential to treat various types of high-strength wastewater at different scales.