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Carbon-based materials reinforced waste activated sludge electro-dewatering for synchronous fuel treatment

Cao, Bingdi, Wang, Ruilu, Zhang, Weijun, Wu, Hanjun, Wang, Dongsheng
Water research 2019 v.149 pp. 533-542
activated carbon, activated sludge, biopolymers, combustion, dewatering, electrical conductivity, electrical treatment, electrochemistry, electroosmosis, electrophoresis, energy, filterability, filtration, flammability, fuels, graphene, China
Sludge treatment and disposal have become critical environmental issues in China. Electro-dewatering (ED) is an attractive technology for enhancing dewaterability and improving the sustainability of waste activated sludge (WAS) handling. However, electrically assisted mechanical dewatering processes consume more energy and the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) dissolution caused by electrochemical reactions can lead to clogging of the filter cloth. Carbon-based materials (CBMs) such as activated carbon and graphite have electrical conductivity and well-developed pore structures which can adsorb the biopolymers. Therefore, addition of CBMs is expected to improve WAS electro-dewatering performance for fuel treatment by enhancing sludge conductivity and filterability. In this study, we evaluated the effects of the three carbon materials (AC-0, AC-5, and graphite) on sludge electro-dewatering behavior and the flammability of sludge cakes. The results showed that CBMs promote the performance of WAS electro-dewatering, and the promoting effect of the carbon materials on the sludge electro-dewatering is proportional to the electrical conductivity of the carbon material, and carbon materials can increase the electrophoretic mobility of sludge flocs and the electro-osmotic effect. Moreover, CBMs can adsorb the dissolved EPS, thus alleviate the plugging and filtration resistance of the filter medium. The addition of CBMs also decreases the energy consumption for water removal during the electro-dewatering process and improves the calorific value and sustainable combustion time of the sludge cake. Our approach can facilitate the resource utilization of the dewatered sludge cake in electro-dewatering processes.