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The Impact of Ultrasonic Energy on Mesophilic Anaerobic Digestion

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The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of using ultrasonic energy to enhance mesophilic anaerobic digestion. The primary focus was to determine if using ultrasonics in a pretreatment mode or in an internal recycle line produced any significant changes in performance. Using a relatively low energy system, the data showed that the addition of ultrasonic energy in either a recycle line or as a pretreatment technology improved anaerobic digestion efficiency. There was a mean 17% increase in daily biogas production, a mean increase in additional total solids destruction of 6.2% as well as a mean increase of 5.9% of volatile solids destruction, depending on ultrasonic dose and location. The dewaterability of the sludge was poorer, as measured by an increase in the optimum polymer dose. The addition of ultrasonics to the digestions systems generated a more stable biosolids product with a 10-24% reduction in organo-sulfur odor potential. The system also demonstrated that performance was dependent upon the ultrasonic dose applied.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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