A perspective on hydrothermal processing of sewage sludge.
ABSTRACT: The US annually produces 79 million dry tons of liquid organic waste including sewage sludge. Anaerobic digestion can only reduce the sludge volume by 50% in mass, leaving the other half as a growing waste management and hygienic problem. Hydrothermal processing (HTP), a set of several chemical digestion processes, could be used to convert sewage sludge into valuable products and minimize potential environmental pollution risks. Specifically, hydrothermal carbonization and hydrothermal liquefaction have been extensively studied to sustainably manage sludge. Two of the main reasons for this are the high upscalability of HTP for public waste management and that it is estimated that HTP can recover eleven times more energy from waste products than landfilling. An integration of HTP with anaerobic digestion or recycling the soluble organics (in the HTP aqueous products) into the HTP process could lead to a higher overall rate of energy recovery for municipal sewage sludge.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recently, it has been indicated that anaerobic co-digestion of waste activated sludge with other waste streams at wastewater treatment plants is a promising strategy for enhancing methane production and materials recovery. The enhanced methane production can be used as a renewable source of energy in wastewater treatment plants. It can also reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emission in landfilling of the waste streams. RESULTS:According to the results obtained in this study, anaerobic co-digestion of waste activated sludge with mixed fruit waste and cheese whey improves methane production and the quality of digested sludge in comparison to the anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge individually. It was indicated that carbon/nitrogen ratio (C/N) in the mixture of waste activated sludge, fruit waste and cheese whey improved considerably, leading to better anaerobic organisms' activity during digestion. With assessing the activity of protease and cellulase, as the main enzymes hydrolyzing organic matter in anaerobic digestion, it was indicated that co-digestion of waste activated sludge with mixed fruit waste and cheese whey enhances the activity of these enzymes by 22 and 9% respectively. At the end of digestion, the amount of cumulative methane production significantly increased by 31% in the reactor with 85% waste activated sludge and 15% mixed fruit waste and cheese whey, compared to the reactor with 100% waste activated sludge. In addition, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and volatile solid (VS) in digested sludge was improved respectively by 9 and 7% when mixed fruit waste and cheese whey was used. CONCLUSIONS:This study revealed that mixed fruit waste and cheese whey is potentially applicable to anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge, as fruit waste and cheese whey have high C/N ratio that enhance low C/N in waste activated sludge and provide a better diet for anaerobic organisms. This is of significant importance because not only could higher amount of renewable energy be generated from the enhanced methane production in wastewater treatment plants, but also capital costs of the companies whose waste streams are being transported to wastewater treatments plants could be reduced considerably.
Project description:Acetate production from food waste or sewage sludge was evaluated in four semi-continuous anaerobic digestion processes. To examine the importance of inoculum and substrate for acid production, two different inoculum sources (a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and a co-digestion plant treating food and industry waste) and two common substrates (sewage sludge and food waste) were used in process operations. The processes were evaluated with regard to the efficiency of hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis and the microbial community structure was determined. Feeding sewage sludge led to mixed acid fermentation and low total acid yield, whereas feeding food waste resulted in the production of high acetate and lactate yields. Inoculum from WWTP with sewage sludge substrate resulted in maintained methane production, despite a low hydraulic retention time. For food waste, the process using inoculum from WWTP produced high levels of lactate (30 g/L) and acetate (10 g/L), while the process initiated with inoculum from the co-digestion plant had higher acetate (25 g/L) and lower lactate (15 g/L) levels. The microbial communities developed during acid production consisted of the major genera Lactobacillus (92-100%) with food waste substrate, and Roseburia (44-45%) and Fastidiosipila (16-36%) with sewage sludge substrate. Use of the outgoing material (hydrolysates) in a biogas production system resulted in a non-significant increase in bio-methane production (+5-20%) compared with direct biogas production from food waste and sewage sludge.
Project description:High-solid anaerobic digestion is an attractive solution to the problem of sewage sludge disposal. One method that can be used to enhance the production of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and the generation of methane from anaerobic digestion involves combining an alkaline pretreatment step with the synergistic effects of sewage sludge and cattle manure co-digestion, which improves the activity of key enzymes and microorganisms in the anaerobic co-digestion system to promote the digestion of organic waste. In this study, we describe an efficient strategy that involves adjusting the volatile solid (VS) ratio (sewage sludge/cattle manure: 3/7) and initial pH (9.0) to improve VFA production and methane generation from the co-digestion of sludge and manure. The experimental results indicate that the maximum VFA production was 98.33?g/kg-TS (total solid) at the optimal conditions. Furthermore, methane generation in a long-term semi-continuously operated reactor (at a VS ratio of 3/7 and pH of 9.0) was greater than 120.0?L/kg-TS.
Project description:Limitations on current wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) biological processes and solids disposal options present opportunities to implement novel technologies that convert WWTPs into resource recovery facilities. This review considered replacing or augmenting extensive dewatering, anaerobic digestion, and off-site disposal with new thermo-chemical and liquid extraction processes. These technologies may better recover energy and metals while inactivating pathogens and destroying organic pollutants. Because limited direct comparisons between different sludge types exist in the literature for hydrothermal liquefaction, this study augments the findings with experimental data. These experiments demonstrated 50% reduction in sludge mass, with 30% of liquefaction products converted to bio-oil and most metals sequestered within a small mass of solid bio-char residue. Finally, each technology's contribution to the three sustainability pillars is investigated. Although limiting hazardous materials reintroduction to the environment may increase economic cost of sludge treatment, it is balanced by cleaner environment and valuable resource benefits for society.
Project description:Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is an energy-efficient thermochemical process for converting wet waste products into value added materials for water treatment. Understanding how HTC influences the physicochemical properties of the resultant materials is critical in optimizing the process for water treatment, where surface functionality and surface area play a major role. In this study, we have examined the HTC of four wet waste streams, sewage sludge, biosludge, fiber sludge, and horse manure at three different temperatures (180 °C, 220 °C, and 260 °C). The physicochemical properties of these materials were examined via FTIR, SEM and BET with their adsorption capacity were assessed using methylene blue. The yield of solid material after hydrothermal carbonization (hydrochar) decreased with increasing temperature for all samples, with the largest impact on horse manure and fiber sludge. These materials also lost the highest degree of oxygen, while HTC had minimal impact on biosludge and sewage sludge. The differences here were due to the varying compositions of each waste material, FTIR identified resonances related to cellulose in horse manure and fiber sludge, which were not detected in biosludge and sewage sludge. Adsorption capacities varied between 9.0 and 68 mg g-1 with biosludge HTC at 220 °C adsorbing the highest amount. Adsorption also dropped drastically at the highest temperature (260 °C), indicating a correlation between adsorption capacity and HTC conditions. This was attributed to the loss of oxygen functional groups, which can contribute to adsorption. These results suggest that adsorption properties can be tailored both by selection of HTC temperature and feedstock.
Project description:In this study, we used a multifaceted approach to select robust bioaugmentation candidates for enhancing biogas production and to demonstrate the usefulness of a genome-centric approach for strain selection for specific bioaugmentation purposes. We also investigated the influence of the isolation source of bacterial strains on their metabolic potential and their efficiency in enhancing anaerobic digestion. Whole genome sequencing, metabolic pathway reconstruction, and physiological analyses, including phenomics, of phylogenetically diverse strains, Rummeliibacillus sp. POC4, Ochrobactrum sp. POC9 (both isolated from sewage sludge) and Brevundimonas sp. LPMIX5 (isolated from an agricultural biogas plant) showed their diverse enzymatic activities, metabolic versatility and ability to survive under varied growth conditions. All tested strains display proteolytic, lipolytic, cellulolytic, amylolytic, and xylanolytic activities and are able to utilize a wide array of single carbon and energy sources, as well as more complex industrial by-products, such as dairy waste and molasses. The specific enzymatic activity expressed by the three strains studied was related to the type of substrate present in the original isolation source. Bioaugmentation with sewage sludge isolates-POC4 and POC9-was more effective for enhancing biogas production from sewage sludge (22% and 28%, respectively) than an approach based on LPMIX5 strain (biogas production boosted by 7%) that had been isolated from an agricultural biogas plant, where other type of substrate is used.
Project description:Removal of triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS) from wastewater is a function of adsorption, abiotic degradation, and microbial mineralization or transformation, reactions that are not currently controlled or optimized in the pollution control infrastructure of standard wastewater treatment. Here, we report on the levels of eight transformation products, human metabolites, and manufacturing byproducts of TCC and TCS in raw and treated sewage sludge. Two sample sets were studied: samples collected once from 14 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) representing nine states, and multiple samples collected from one WWTP monitored for 12 months. Time-course analysis of significant mass fluxes (?=0.01) indicate that transformation of TCC (dechlorination) and TCS (methylation) occurred during sewage conveyance and treatment. Strong linear correlations were found between TCC and the human metabolite 2'-hydroxy-TCC (r=0.84), and between the TCC-dechlorination products dichlorocarbanilide (DCC) and monochlorocarbanilide (r=0.99). Mass ratios of DCC-to-TCC and of methyl-triclosan (MeTCS)-to-TCS, serving as indicators of transformation activity, revealed that transformation was widespread under different treatment regimes across the WWTPs sampled, though the degree of transformation varied significantly among study sites (?=0.01). The analysis of sludge sampled before and after different unit operation steps (i.e., anaerobic digestion, sludge heat treatment, and sludge drying) yielded insights into the extent and location of TCC and TCS transformation. Results showed anaerobic digestion to be important for MeTCS transformation (37-74%), whereas its contribution to partial TCC dechlorination was limited (0.4-2.1%). This longitudinal and nationwide survey is the first to report the occurrence of transformation products, human metabolites, and manufacturing byproducts of TCC and TCS in sewage sludge.
Project description:Recently, it has been indicated that free nitrous acid (FNA) and Fenton pre-treatment of waste activated sludge can enhance methane production in anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge. In addition, it has been revealed that the substances used in these pre-treatments are both eco-friendly and economically attractive because not only are they produced in anaerobic digestion, but they are also low priced. Since primary sludge and waste activated sludge are mixed prior to anaerobic digestion in the majority of wastewater treatment plants, this study aims to assess the influence of combined FNA and Fenton on the anaerobic digestion of mixed sludge.According to this study's results, methane generation from anaerobic digestion of mixed sludge was enhanced when using FNA and Fenton pre-treatment, affirming the effectiveness of the individual and combined pre-treatments in anaerobic digestion of mixed sludge. The enhanced methane production was significant in combined pre-treatments (up to 72%), compared with FNA and Fenton pre-treatment alone (25% and 27%, respectively). This corroborates the positive synergistic effect of the combined pre-treatments on methane production. The enhanced methane can be attributed to augmented soluble fractions of organic matter in addition to increased readily biodegradable organic matter, caused by the pre-treatments. Additionally, the amount of chemical oxygen demand (COD) was assessed during anaerobic digestion, and it was revealed that COD decreased considerably when the pre-treatment strategies were combined.This study reveals that the pre-treatments are potentially applicable to full-scale wastewater treatment plants because a mixture of primary sludge and waste activated sludge was used for the pre-treatments. Additionally, combined FNA and Fenton pre-treatments prove more effective in enhancing methane production and organic removal than these pre-treatments alone. The enhanced methane production is important for two reasons: a higher amount of renewable energy could be generated from the enhanced methane production and the COD of digested sludge reduces in such a way that facilitates application of the sludge to agricultural lands and reduces sludge transport costs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:This study investigated the feasibility of enhancing anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge with triple, dual, and individual pretreatment of waste activated sludge with heat, alkalinity, and hydrogen peroxide. These pretreatments disrupt sludge flocs, organisms' cell walls, extracellular polymeric substance, and intracellular organic matter, which increase biodegradability and hydrolysis rate of activate sludge. In addition, the influence of various variables on methane production was analyzed using the response surface methodology with the quadratic model. Eventually, an optimized temperature and chemical concentration for the highest methane production and lowest chemical usage is suggested. RESULTS:The highest amount of methane production was obtained from the sludge pretreated with triple pretreatment (heat (90?°C), alkaline (pH?=?12), and hydrogen peroxide (30?mg H2O2/g TS)), which had better performance with 96% higher methane production than that of the control sample with temperature of 25?°C approximately and a pH?=?8. Response surface methodology with a quadratic model was also used for analyzing the influence of temperature, pH, and hydrogen peroxide concentration on anaerobic digestion efficiency. It was revealed that the optimized temperature, pH, and hydrogen peroxide concentration for maximizing methane production and solubilization of sludge and minimizing thermal energy and chemical additives of the pretreatments are 83.2?°C, pH?=?10.6 and 34.8?mg H2O2/g TS, respectively, has the desirability of 0.67. CONCLUSION:This study reveals that triple pretreatment of waste activated sludge performed better than dual and individual pretreatment, respectively, in all desirable output parameters including increasing methane production as the most important output, increasing in COD solubilization, protein and polysaccharide, and decreasing in VSS solubilization.
Project description:The Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) procedure was used to compare waste management options for kraft pulp mill sludge following its anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion of sludge is advantageous because it produces biogas that may be used to generate electricity, heat and biofuels. However, adequate management of the digested sludge is essential. Landfill disposal is a non-sustainable waste management alternative. Kraft pulp mill digested sludge applied to land may pose risks to the environment and public health if the sludge has not been properly treated. This study is aimed to compare several recycling alternatives for anaerobically digested sludge from kraft pulp mills: land application, landfill disposal, composting, incineration, pyrolysis/gasification, and biofuel production by algae. The MCDA procedure considered nine criteria into three domains to compare digested sludge recycling alternatives in a kraft pulp mill: environmental (CO2 emission, exposure to pathogens, risk of pollution, material and energy recovery), economic (overall costs, value of products) and technical (maintenance and operation, feasibility of implementation). The most suitable management options for digested sludge from kraft pulp mills were found to be composting and incineration (when the latter was coupled with recycling ash to the cement industry). Landfill disposal was the worst option, presenting low performance in feasibility of implementation, risk of pollution, material and energy recovery.