inCTRL Solutions started a research project with McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada and GE Water & Process Technologies on Thermophilic Pre-Treatment of Biosolids. This project is funded by the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC).
Anaerobic digestion is an essential process in wastewater sludge treatment. Hydrolysis is one of the rate-limiting reactions in anaerobic digestion but it can be greatly accelerated by increasing the operating temperature to 50°C or higher. Temperature effects on the rate of individual biological reactions in anaerobic digestion have not been clearly explained, especially under thermophilic conditions. Consequently, commercial wastewater treatment models cannot provide reliable simulation results for anaerobic digestion under thermophilic conditions. In this proposed work, we will investigate kinetic constants for biological reactions, with an emphasis on hydrolysis reactions, in thermophilic pretreatment of wastewater sludge. In addition to sludge destruction reactions, we will study the effect of temperature on E. coli inactivation in anaerobic digestion to produce safe and high-quality land fertilizers from wastewater sludge. Research findings on hydrolysis and E. coli inactivation kinetics will be incorporated in a commercial wastewater treatment modelling software package (SIMBA#) for broad applications of the findings in sustainable wastewater sludge treatment and management. Bioanode sensors for monitoring the performance of the thermophilic pretreatment system will be developed during the project to monitor sensor process performance and provide inputs to a process control system. An existing software platform for monitoring and control will be further developed to provide data quality control, performance monitoring, and automated process control of thermophilic pre-treatment systems.