Thermophilic anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge with high solids content

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The treatment performance of thermophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) of sewage sludge with high solids content was investigated with two laboratory-scale thermophilic anaerobic reactors (R1 and R2) with a feeding of pre-centrifuged sewage sludge. Reactor R1 was fed with sludge of 3.7% total solids (TS). The volatile solids (VS) removal ratio and methane yield in the stable state were 54.9% and 0.29 NL CH4/g VSadded, respectively. For reactor R2, when the TS content of fed sludge was 7.4%, the VS removal ratio and methane yield in the stable state were 73.2% and 0.38 NL CH4/g VSadded, respectively. When the TS content was increased to 9.5%, the VS removal ratio and methane yield slightly decreased to 69.3% and 0.32 NL CH4/g VSadded, respectively, but the reactor was stably operated. An increase of ammonia concentration was observed, but it was in the safe range without severe inhibition on the methane production. The result indicated that thermophilic AD could support sewage sludge with high TS content (9.5%) without abrupt deterioration of the treatment performance. The high-solids AD process is an economical method for centralized sewage sludge treatment with lower transport cost.

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