Analysis of methane emissions from digested sludge

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The energetic use of sewage sludge is an important step in the generation of electricity and heat within a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). For a holistic approach, methane emissions derived from anaerobic treatment have to be considered. Measurements show that methane dissolved in digested sludge can be analyzed via the vacuum salting out degassing method. At different WWTPs, dissolved methane was measured, showing a concentration range of approximately 7–37 mg CH4/L. The average concentration of dissolved methane in mesophilic digested sludge was approximately 29 mg CH4/L, which corresponds to an estimated yearly specific load of approximately 14–21 g CH4 per population equivalent. Comparisons between continuous and discontinuous digester feeding show that a temporary rise in the volume load causes increased concentrations of dissolved methane. Investigations using an industrial-scale digestion plant, consisting of three digestion tank operated in series, show comparable results.

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