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Co-digestion of wastewater solids and food wastes has been practiced in Europe to increase gas productions in the existing anaerobic digester systems and energy generation. Although the literature review of the co-digestion technologies and food waste sources indicate that various types of food wastes can be amenable for co-digestion, optimization of gas production and system performance requires a thorough analysis. In the context of making better use of existing infrastructure by optimizing operations and introducing potent waste streams for increased biogas generation, co-digestion potential of wastewater treatment biosolids and dairy wastes collected from the dairy farms located in the Chino Basin area of California with various food wastes were evaluated. The main objective of the study was to identify and characterize the foodwaste types that would be amenable to co-digestion with biosolids and manure, and to develop an implementation strategy based on follow-on full scale tests. Based on literature findings a bench-scale co-digestion study was performed using biosolids and three different foodwastes (tomato, cheese and salad dressing) in mesophilic and thermophilic digesters. The preliminary results have shown that mesophilic operation was superior to thermophilic operation in terms of VS reduction and gas production. Thermophilic operation was sensitive to organic loading and exhibited severe inhibition. More contact time (>15 days) was required for co-digestion of cheese waste than those for other foodwaste mixtures. In the end of experiments (28 days), the ultimate gas production was similar for each foodwaste mixture. Co-digestion was implemented in full-scale at IEUA's RP-1 facility. System improvements and field observations are summarized in this paper.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

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