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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 30, pp 30544–30553 | Cite as

Energy recovery from wastewater treatment plants through sludge anaerobic digestion: effect of low-organic-content sludge

  • Yuyao Zhang
  • Huan LiEmail author
Water Environment Protection and Contamination Treatment

Abstract

During anaerobic digestion, low-organic-content sludge sometimes is used as feedstock, resulting in deteriorated digestion performance. The operational experience of conventional anaerobic digestion cannot be applied to this situation. To investigate the feature of low-organic-content sludge digestion and explain its intrinsic mechanism, batch experiments were conducted using designed feedstock having volatile solids (VS) contents that were 30–64% of total solids (TS). The results showed that the accumulative biogas yield declined proportionally from 173.7 to 64.8 ml/g VS added and organic removal rate decreased from 34.8 to 11.8% with decreasing VS/TS in the substrate. The oligotrophic environment resulting from low-organic-content substrates led to decreased microbial activity and a switch from butyric fermentation to propionic fermentation. A first-order model described the biogas production from the batch experiments very well, and the degradation coefficient decreased from 0.159 to 0.069 day−1, exhibiting a positive relation with organic content in substrate. The results observed here corroborated with data from published literature on anaerobic digestion of low-organic-content sludge and showed that it may not be feasible to recover energy from sludge with an organic content lower than 50% through mono digestion.

Keywords

Anaerobic digestion Biogas Energy Organic content Sludge Volatile fatty acid 

Notes

Funding information

This work was supported by the China Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (grant number 2011ZX07302); the Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 51478239); and the Shenzhen Science and Technology Project (grant number JCYJ20170307152224920).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Microorganism Application and Risk Control of Shenzhen, Graduate School at ShenzhenTsinghua UniversityShenzhenChina

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