Sequential anaerobic/anaerobic digestion for enhanced sludge stabilization: comparison of the process performance for mixed and waste sludge

Tomei, M.; Carozza, Nicola
May 2015
Environmental Science & Pollution Research;May2015, Vol. 22 Issue 10, p7271
Academic Journal
Sequential anaerobic-aerobic digestion has been demonstrated as a promising alternative for enhanced sludge stabilization. In this paper, a feasibility study of the sequential digestion applied to real waste activated sludge (WAS) and mixed sludge is presented. Process performance is evaluated in terms of total solid (TS) and volatile solid (VS) removal, biogas production, and dewaterability trend in the anaerobic and double-stage digested sludge. In the proposed digestion lay out, the aerobic stage was operated with intermittent aeration to reduce the nitrogen load recycled to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Experimental results showed a very good performance of the sequential digestion process for both waste and mixed sludge, even if, given its better digestibility, higher efficiencies are observed for mixed sludge. VS removal efficiencies in the anaerobic stage were 48 and 50 % for waste and mixed sludge, respectively, while a significant additional improvement of the VS removal of 25 % for WAS and 45 % for mixed sludge has been obtained in the aerobic stage. The post-aerobic stage, operated with intermittent aeration, was also efficient in nitrogen removal, providing a significant decrease of the nitrogen content in the supernatant: nitrification efficiencies of 90 and 97 % and denitrification efficiencies of 62 and 70 % have been obtained for secondary and mixed sludges, respectively. A positive effect due to the aerobic stage was also observed on the sludge dewaterability in both cases. Biogas production, expressed as Nm/(kgVS), was 0.54 for waste and 0.82 for mixed sludge and is in the range of values reported in the literature in spite of the low anaerobic sludge retention time of 15 days.


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