Increased biogas production in a wastewater treatment plant by anaerobic co-digestion of fruit and vegetable waste and sewer sludge – A full scale study

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Anaerobic digestion is a well established technology for the reduction of organic matter and stabilization of wastewater. Biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, is produced as a useful by-product of the process. Current solid waste management at the city of Prince George is focused on disposal of waste and not on energy recovery. Co-digestion of fresh fruit and vegetable waste with sewer sludge can improve biogas yield by increasing the load of biodegradable material. A six week full-scale project co-digesting almost 15,000 kg of supermarket waste was completed. Average daily biogas production was found to be significantly higher than in previous years. Digester operation remained stable over the course of the study as indicated by the consistently low volatile acids-to-alkalinity ratio. Undigested organic material was visible in centrifuged sludge suggesting that the waste should have been added to the primary digester to prevent short circuiting and to increase the hydraulic retention time of the freshly added waste.

Keywords: anaerobic digestion, biogas, co-digestion, fruit and vegetable waste, full scale

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