Thermophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) arises as an optimized solution for the waste activated sludge (WAS) management. However, there are few feasibility studies using low solids content typically found in the WAS, and that consider uncommon operational conditions such as intermittent mixing and low hydraulic retention time (HRT). In this investigation, a single-stage pilot reactor was used to treat WAS at low HRT (13, 9, 6 and 5 days) and intermittent mixing (withholding mixing 2 h prior feeding). Thermophilic anaerobic digestion (55 degrees C) was initiated from a mesophilic digester (35 degrees C) by the one-step startup strategy. Although instabilities on partial alkalinity (1245-3000 mgCaCO(3)/L), volatile fatty acids (1774-6421 mg/L acetic acid) and biogas production (0.21-0.09 m(3)/m(reactor)(3).d) were observed, methanogenesis started to recover in 18 days. The thermophilic treatment of WAS at 13 and 9 days HRT efficiently converted VS into biogas (22 and 21%, respectively) and achieved high biogas yield (0.24 and 0.22 m(3)/kgVS(fed), respectively). Intermittent mixing improved the retention of methanogens inside the reactor and reduced the washout effect even at low HRT (<9 days). The negative thermal balance found was influenced by the low solids content in the WAS (2.1% TS) and by the heat losses from the digester walls. The energy balance and economic analyses demonstrated the feasibility of thermophilic AD of WAS in a hypothetical full-scale system, when the heat energy could be recovered from methane in a scenario of higher solids concentration in the substrate (>5% TS). (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Feasibility of thermophilic anaerobic processes for treating waste activated sludge under low HRT and intermittent mixing

Gottardo, Marco;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Thermophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) arises as an optimized solution for the waste activated sludge (WAS) management. However, there are few feasibility studies using low solids content typically found in the WAS, and that consider uncommon operational conditions such as intermittent mixing and low hydraulic retention time (HRT). In this investigation, a single-stage pilot reactor was used to treat WAS at low HRT (13, 9, 6 and 5 days) and intermittent mixing (withholding mixing 2 h prior feeding). Thermophilic anaerobic digestion (55 degrees C) was initiated from a mesophilic digester (35 degrees C) by the one-step startup strategy. Although instabilities on partial alkalinity (1245-3000 mgCaCO(3)/L), volatile fatty acids (1774-6421 mg/L acetic acid) and biogas production (0.21-0.09 m(3)/m(reactor)(3).d) were observed, methanogenesis started to recover in 18 days. The thermophilic treatment of WAS at 13 and 9 days HRT efficiently converted VS into biogas (22 and 21%, respectively) and achieved high biogas yield (0.24 and 0.22 m(3)/kgVS(fed), respectively). Intermittent mixing improved the retention of methanogens inside the reactor and reduced the washout effect even at low HRT (<9 days). The negative thermal balance found was influenced by the low solids content in the WAS (2.1% TS) and by the heat losses from the digester walls. The energy balance and economic analyses demonstrated the feasibility of thermophilic AD of WAS in a hypothetical full-scale system, when the heat energy could be recovered from methane in a scenario of higher solids concentration in the substrate (>5% TS). (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5022961
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