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Seeking to enhance the bioenergy of municipal sludge: Effect of alkali pre-treatment and soluble organic matter supplementation

Zahedi, S., Rivero, M., Solera, R., Perez, M.
Waste management 2017 v.68 pp. 398-404
acidification, alkali treatment, alkalinity, anaerobic digestion, bioenergy, glycerol, methane, methane production, organic matter, pH, sewage sludge, sodium hydroxide, volatile fatty acids, wastewater treatment, Spain
The aim of this research is to enhance the mesophilic anaerobic digestion of municipal sludge from Cadiz-San Fernando (Spain) wastewater treatment plant at 20days hydraulic retention time (HRT). Two different strategies were tested to improve the process: co-digestion with the addition of soluble organic matter (1% v/v); and alkali sludge pre-treatment (NaOH) prior to co-digestion with glycerine (1% v/v). Methane production (MP) was substantially enhanced (from 0.36±0.09 L CH4 l/d to 0.85±0.16 L CH4 l/d), as was specific methane production (SMP) (from 0.20±0.05 L CH4/g VS to 0.49±0.09 L CH4/g VS) when glycerine was added. The addition of glycerine does not seem to affect sludge stability, the quality of the effluent in terms of pH and organic matter content, i.e. volatile fatty acids (VFA), soluble organic matter and total volatile solid, or process stability (VFA/Alkalinity ratio<0.4). Alkali pre-treatment prior to co-digestion resulted in a high increase in soluble organic loading rates (more than 20%) and acidification yield (more than 50%). At 20days HRT, however, it led to overload of the system and total destabilization of the mesophilic anaerobic co-digestion of sewage sludge and glycerine.