Mild Thermal Pre-Treatment of Waste Activated Sludge to Increase Loading Capacity, Biogas Production, and Solids’ Degradation: A Pilot-Scale Study

Adrian Gonzalez, Hongxiao Guo, Oscar Ortega-Ibáñez, Coert Petri, Jules B. van Lier, Merle de Kreuk, Alexander Hendriks

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Abstract

Sludge pre-treatments are emerging as part of the disposal process of solid by-products of wastewater purification. One of their benefits is the increase in methane production rate and/or yield, along with higher loading capacities of existing digesters. In this study, we report the performance of a pilot-scale compartmentalized digester (volume of 18.6 m3) that utilized a mild thermal pre-treatment at 70 °C coupled with hydrogen peroxide dosing. Compared with a reference conventional anaerobic digester, this technique allowed an increased organic loading rate from 1.4 to 4.2 kg volatile solids (VS)/(m3d) and an increment in the solids degradation from 40 to 44%. To some extent, these improvements were promoted by the solubilization of the tightly-bound fraction of the extracellular polymeric substances to looser and more accessible fractions without the formation of refractory compounds. In sum, our results suggest that this pre-treatment method could increase the treatment capacity of existing digesters without significant retrofitting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6059
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEnergies
Volume13
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • mild-temperature
  • pilot-scale
  • thermal pre-treatment
  • thermochemical pre-treatment
  • waste activated sludge

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