Co-digestion of glycerine and sewage sludge to optimise green electricity production

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Sewage sludge and crude glycerine were co-digested in the mesophilic digester of Hoogstraten wastewater treatment plant. Additions of up to 1 kg of crude glycerine/(m³ reactor).(day) were done without significant operational problems. At higher dosage, severe digester foaming was observed. Methane production during co-digestion was up to 20% higher than what would be expected based on the digester input. Compared to the period before glycerine dosage, every tonne of added crude glycerine resulted in a surplus methane production of 489 Nm³. The theoretical methane production from the used crude glycerine was 341 Nm³ per tonne. The difference is explained by a higher sewage sludge degradability during co-digestion with glycerine. Glycerine dosage can remedy the lowered specific biogas yield of sewage sludge in Flanders and consequently enhance green electricity production.

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