IWA Publishing

Faecal sludge as a solid industrial fuel: a pilot-scale study

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Revenues from faecal sludge (FS) treatment end products could offset treatment costs and contribute to financially viable sanitation. In urban sub-Saharan Africa, energy-producing resource recovery has the potential to generate greater revenue than use as soil conditioner. In contrast with wastewater sludge, the technical feasibility of using dried FS as solid fuel in industries has not been investigated. This study evaluated it through characterization of dried FS from drying beds and by assessing the combustion performance in two pilot-scale kilns, in Kampala and Dakar. Results from the fuel characterization demonstrate that dried FS had comparable fuel characteristics as wastewater sludge considering calorific value and ash content. The calorific values and ash contents were 10.9–13.4 MJ/kg dry matter (DM) and 47.0–58.7%, respectively. Results from pilot-scale experiments suggest that dried FS can be effective in providing energy for industries. Temperatures in pilot-scale kilns fueled by FS were 800 °C, sufficient for curing of clay bricks, and 437 °C, sufficient for waste oil regeneration. In Kampala and Dakar, an estimated 20,000 tons of FS DM per year accumulate. Tapping the industrial fuel market and financial benefits could be realized through optimization of onsite sanitation and treatment technologies.

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