U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Increasing biogas production from sewage sludge anaerobic co-digestion process by adding crude glycerol from biodiesel industry

Steven Nartker, Michelle Ammerman, Jennifer Aurandt, Michael Stogsdil, Olivia Hayden, Chad Antle
Waste management 2014 v.34 pp. 2567-2571
anaerobic digesters, anaerobic digestion, bacterial communities, biodiesel, biogas, energy conversion, glycerol, manufacturing, methane production, sewage sludge, sustainable technology, wastewater treatment
In an effort to convert waste streams to energy in a green process, glycerol from biodiesel manufacturing has been used to increase the gas production and methane content of biogas within a mesophilic anaerobic co-digestion process using primary sewage sludge. Glycerol was systematically added to the primary digester from 0% to 60% of the organic loading rate (OLR). The optimum glycerol loading range was from 25% to 60% OLR. This resulted in an 82–280% improvement in specific gas production. Following the feeding schedule described, the digesters remained balanced and healthy until inhibition was achieved at 70% glycerol OLR. This suggests that high glycerol loadings are possible if slow additions are upheld in order to allow the bacterial community to adjust properly. Waste water treatment plant operators with anaerobic digesters can use the data to increase loadings and boost biogas production to enhance energy conversion. This process provides a safe, environmentally friendly method to convert a typical waste stream to an energy stream of biogas.