Sewage sludge pretreatment by microwave irradiation combined with activated carbon fibre at alkaline pH for anaerobic digestion

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This research focuses on the effects of microwave-assisted activated carbon fibre (ACF) (MW-ACF) treatment on sewage sludge at alkaline pH. The disintegration and biodegradability of sewage sludge were studied. It was found that the MW-ACF process at alkaline pH provided a rapid and efficient process to disrupt the microbial cells in the sludge. The results suggested that when irradiated at 800 W MW for 110 s with a dose of 1.0 g ACF/g solid concentration (SS) at pH 10.5, the MW-ACF pretreatment achieved 55% SS disintegration, 23% greater than the value of MW alone (32%). The concentration of total nitrogen, total phosphorus, supernatant soluble chemical oxygen demand, protein, and polysaccharide increased by 60%, 144%, 145%, 74%, and 77%, respectively. An increase in biogas production by 63.7% was achieved after 20 days of anaerobic digestion (AD), compared to the control. The results indicated that the MW-ACF pretreatment process at alkaline pH provides novel sludge management options in disintegration of sewage sludge for further AD.

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